An Edmonton mother of two is dead after a fire tore through a west Edmonton home early Sunday.
Cynthia Cotton was killed and her husband Shawn Trojan severely injured when flames tore through their family home in the Parkview neighbourhood, Cotton's family said in a statement provided to CBC News.
The couple had just spent a rare quiet evening together.
Their young son and daughter children were at a sleepover for the night so Cotton and Trojan could celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary.
"The early morning hours of October 11, 2020, brought an unimaginable tragedy to our family," Cynthia's sister, Michelle Cotton, said in the statement.
"Our family extends our deepest thanks to the brave men and women of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services who risked their lives in their attempts to save Cynthia. We also thank the doctors and nurses at the Misericordia hospital. We are forever grateful for their skill and compassion."
The family is focused on helping Trojan and the children heal.
"Healing from his injuries will be a small part of the road ahead but finding a new way forward without Cynthia will be the biggest challenge of Shawn's life," the statement said.
Fire crews arrived at the scene in the area of 90th Avenue and 144th Street around 4:40 a.m. after a neighbour spotted flames climbing the back of the home.
According to a statement issued by Edmonton Fire Rescue Services later Sunday, two people were transported to hospital. One firefighter was injured.
Fire investigators have determined that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in the basement.
"It is because of Shawn's and Cynthia's diligence in installing additional smoke detectors when they moved into their home that the kids of this family are mourning one parent instead of two," the family statement said.
According to Cotton family, the home is no longer livable and all the family's belongings were destroyed.
The home was insured but Cotton's multiple sclerosis diagnosis at 25 prevented her from obtaining life insurance, the family said. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses. As of Thursday morning, more than $35,000 had been donated.
A funeral service has not been finalized. In lieu of food or flowers, the family is encouraging everyone to visit the National Fire Protection Association website to create their own fire safety plan as a tribute to Cotton.
The family is also encouraging those who knew Cotton to celebrate her life by sharing stories and photos on her personal Facebook page.
Support from the community has been overwhelming, the family said.
"Thank you for your outpouring of love and support.
"We are truly overwhelmed at the offers to help, and we are so grateful to have such an amazing community to navigate these uncharted waters."