© Photo special to The Guardian
This photo, submitted by a Guardian reader, shows how intense the flames were at an abandoned driving range building early Saturday morning. The fire claimed the lives of three young men and left another in a Halifax hospital.
Three fire victims were from the area and the mayor says the community has been left in shock
MONTAGUE – The loss of three young sons here has left this community reeling in grief after the trio perished in a tragic fire early Saturday morning.
A fourth friend who was at the scene is being treated at a Halifax area hospital.
“It’s just a total shock here,” said Montague Mayor Richard Collins. “I just saw two of these young fellas the other night at Tim’s.”
The four were students at Montague Regional High School or Intermediate.
Grief counselors will be at both schools Monday to help students and teachers cope with the tragedy.
While classes will proceed as scheduled, the P.E.I. English Language School Board sent an email to parents and teachers Sunday evening stating that students who need support will be excused from class to meet with the counselors.
A hockey banquet for the Bantam AAA female Atlantics, held at the high school Saturday night, acknowledged a minute of silence for the victims and church sermons Sunday morning were focused on the senseless tragedy.
“We pray for the souls of these three young boys and ask for prayers for the families,” said Father Gerard Chaisson at St. Mary’s Church in Montague.
The priest acknowledged the tragedy three times during the Mass.
“There are hundreds of family connections to these boys around here and the entire community is just trembling with grief,’’ said Collins. “This is a serious blow to our high and junior school and hundreds have broken hearts within our community and prayers are being sent to those most affected.”
Fellow students are expressing grief on Facebook in an attempt to cope with the tragedy.
Fire and police inspectors are continuing their investigation into the deaths, which occured inside a burning building on Mount Edward Road in Charlottetown on Saturday.
Autopsies on the three young victims were performed Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.
Their identities have not yet been released. More information will be released on Monday.