6 dead, including 4 children, after Quebec house fire

Six people are dead, including four children, after a fire destroyed a residence in Sainte-Jacques, in Quebec’s Lanaudiere region, early Thursday morning.

Quebec provincial police spokesperson Eloise Cossette confirmed the deaths Thursday afternoon, saying it corresponded to information they had earlier in the day. The children are all under the age of eight, she said.

Authorities received a call at around 1 a.m. to report a massive blaze at the home, located on Rang du Cordon, near Moncharme St.

Firefighters handed the scene to police at around 4 a.m., and by the time officers arrived, “the residence was completely destroyed,” according to Cossette.

The bodies were discovered inside the house. Cossette said the victims were asleep at the time.

Their identities have not yet been confirmed, and formal identification will take place in a laboratory.

Jalbert said the woman living in the home had given birth in December.

Major crimes investigators were dispatched to the scene with hopes of uncovering the cause of the fire, as officers picked through the ruins and spoke to neighbours.

“The first thing we noticed was the bang, the bang we heard,” said neighbour Melanie Jalbert, who said she and her spouse saw the house go up in flames within minutes.

Earlier in the day, Cossette was only able to confirm four victims.

“We’ve been able to locate four victims at this time, adults and children, and we know that a family was living here. We have to work methodically to do the search. The search is still ongoing,” she said at the time. “We don’t know if we are going to find some more, but it’s still a possibility at this time.”

So far the cause of the fire is unclear.

“It’s still unexplained,” she said. “We haven’t found anything suspicious regarding the cause of the fire at this point.”

St-Jacques Mayor Josianne forest said news of the fatal fire was difficult to hear for the town of 400 people.

“It’s a small community here, it’s really hard for us,” she said.

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