As his community mourns the deaths of three teenage boys in a car crash early Sunday morning, Blackville Mayor Chris Hennessy says people are still trying to process what happened.
"We're just at a total state of loss and trying to wrap our heads around what actually happened and trying to make sense of that, I guess."
Hennessy described the three teenagers — a 17-year-old from White Rapids, and a 16-year-old and 17-year-old from Blackville — as brothers, sons, and upstanding young men just starting out.
"One of them just recently graduated. The others, you know, still in school, but just such a terrible shame."
Hennessy, in addition to serving as mayor, is a volunteer firefighter with the Blackville Fire Department and was among those dispatched to the crash scene at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Route 8.
"It'd be something you never want to see again, that's for sure," he said Monday on Information Morning Moncton.
Police said they believe the teens' car crossed the median while travelling north, left the road and struck a retaining wall. The three victims were ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.
The names of the victims have not been officially released.
Blackville is about 40 kilometres southwest of Miramichi.
Hennessy said a debriefing session is planned for first responders Monday night.
"We're a close-knit fire department. We know all the first responders, so we're checking on one another every couple hours."
Counsellors will continue to offer support at the Blackville school where all three attended.
Hennessy said the village is co-ordinating grief counselling with the school and will help provide whatever is needed, along with the safety precautions required during the pandemic.
"Be it some comfort food to offer our support in that direction. It's just a lot easier to use the one building, and we can manage it a lot easier that way. We can work together and get through it that way with each other. "
Hennessey said there will be lots of support for the families in the tight-knit community "where everybody knows everybody and everyone's related."
"It's just, you know, it's it's such a shame. I can't even imagine what they'd be going through right now."
Just two years ago, the community was shocked by a string of tragic deaths. In May 2018, an 18-year-old Gray Rapids man was killed in a car crash. Then a month later, a father and daughter died after their homemade raft overturned on the Miramichi River. Blackville also grieved the death of a 14-year-old after his dirt bike collided with a car.
Positive messages welcome
Hennessy said it was strong community support that got them through that in 2018, when everyone stood behind th grieving families and mourned with them. The community will do so again for the families of the three teenagers.
"It's about the only way we can get through something like this. I guess it's it's the only way we know how, right. So it seemed to work in the past. So it's going to work in the future."
As mayor of the village of 1,000 residents, Hennessy said it's hard to find the words to offer comfort to those families but he hopes the little things people do to offer support like dropping off some food, offering a hug, will help.
"I think right now we just have to, you know, be our brother's keepers offer that support and assistance, be there for them when we can."
Hennessy said he's thankful for the messages of support being sent to the community and hopes people continue to send them.
"Right now, it's just keep the positive messages coming, the positive vibes, prayers stand behind our community. I guess that's all we can do to support our community is for each, each and every one of them."