Mother died in Pukatawagan First Nation house fire

One person dead after house fire in Pukatawagan First Nation

The father of a woman who died in a house fire in a northwestern Manitoba First Nation this week said his relatives who escaped the fire are carrying survivor's guilt.

"Some of them, you know, blame themselves," said Jimmy Colomb Sr., who lost his daughter Daisy, 41, in the midday fire.

"It's the way things are that we can't see our future, the way things will happen."

Her home was fully engulfed by a fire on Amisk Drive in Pukatawagan First Nation, around 700 kilometres north of Winnipeg, at about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, RCMP said.

Mounties said five people escaped before the blaze got out of control, but one person was found dead after the fire was put out.

Community members have identified the woman as Daisy Colomb, a mother who was reported sleeping while the fire raged. She was living at the home with two of her children and a number of relatives.

'He thought he was all by himself'

Colomb Sr. said his grandson was sleeping in the basement when he heard screaming outside. He was the last person to flee the burning home. 

"He got up and ran through the kitchen. That's when he saw the flames coming out of the stove," his grandfather said. "He thought he was all by himself." 

Police have not identified the cause of the fire. 

Colomb Sr. rushed to his former home when he was phoned about the fire.

He said his relatives didn't know Daisy was inside. She often goes for walks during the day. 

"There was nothing I could do because the house was full of smoke already," he said. "It burned like a piece of paper."

Daisy looked out for family

He said his daughter was always there for her family.

"She was really helpful to other people and was willing to help no matter how hard her life was."

Hillary Cook considered Daisy to be more of a sister than a friend.

Cook is planning a bingo fundraiser and is collecting donations from Pukatawagan residents for the family.

"They lost everything and they have nothing," Cook said. "That's why I took it upon myself to try and do something for this family."

She remembers her friend as an easygoing person who doted on her family.

"I'm going to miss her laugh and her walking by my house, just dropping by or asking me for a smoke," she said. "I'll miss everything about my friend."

The family lost many material possessions, she said. Daisy's oldest daughter was collecting items as she prepared to become a mother, while the boys were creating a video game room they wanted to make into a gathering place for community youth, she said.

RCMP are investigating the fire with help from the office of the fire commissioner.

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