Two boys who died in a house fire on the Nanoose First Nations lands just north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island were visiting the family that lived in the home.
The fire broke out in the home on Qil-Xe-Mait Road early Wednesday morning, destroying the house and two vehicles in the yard. The house was among a group of relatively new homes that overlook the ocean and the nearby Island Highway.
The two brothers who died were cousins of the family that lived in the home. They have been identified as Jordan Drake, 9, and Devon Drake, 7.
Two adults and their two boys, aged five and seven, managed to escape the house.
Nanoose First Nation Chief David Bob said the husband suffered burns to his hand when he tried to re-enter the house to save the other children.
The mother and her two children were treated for smoke inhalation and released from hospital; the husband is expected to be released shortly, Vancouver Island Health Authority spokeswoman Shannon Marshall
Bob said the power in the area was knocked out by a tree about 10 p.m. Tuesday, and the residents may have been using candles in the home.
Police said the first 911 calls came in at 5:05 a.m. PT and by the time fire crews from the Lantzville Fire Department arrived at 5:12 the house was engulfed in flames.
Community collecting donations
The Nanoose First Nation was collecting donations for the families in the community of about 500 people as RCMP and the fire department continue to investigate the blaze.
Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong said he was called out of a meeting with Vancouver Island mayors and given the news.
"This is the kind of tragedy that no mayor wants to face," he said.
De Jong said he drove by the reserve after hearing about the tragedy and saw RCMP trauma teams offering support to the community.
"It's traumatic, it's hard on council, we have a volunteer fire department. It's hard on the volunteers and it's hard on the native community. Everyone there is related in some way or other."