MONTAGUE — Little Isaiah celebrated his first birthday on Sunday.
His father, Joey Reeves, would have made the celebration except for a terrible twist of fate.
Instead, the 19-year-old became the oldest victim of the tragic fire Saturday that claimed the lives of three teenagers, and injured a fourth, in an abandoned Charlottetown building.
"They were supposed to take shifts at watching the fire, but they all fell asleep," said friend Ashley Livingstone. "There was lots of bad stuff posted on Facebook about this, but they were all great guys."
Reeves and two friends, Brandon MacKinnon, 16, and Kenneth Irving, 15, both died in the fire, while a Grade 9 student from Cardigan (whose name has not been officially released) was able to stumble from the flaming building with severe burns just as firefighters arrived.
"This wasn’t supposed to happen ... it was just a party," posted one student friend on FB about the incident.
Some students said there was a "status update" on FB about a party being planned for Friday night at the abandoned Mt. Edward Road site. At least one person was apparently using the abandoned building as refuge for the past week.
"It was a place (fire site) that people went to party and sometimes live inside if needed," said Tristen Livingstone, who knew all the boys from when she worked at a nearby fast food restaurant.
"It’s bad that this happened to them, but they weren’t bad guys."
Emily Benoit is a student at Montague Regional High and knew one of the victims.
"It’s just a total shock to everybody," she said. "I knew Joey and he was great guy. It’s just a terrible thing to have happened."
Bad weather cancelled school across the province on Monday, but Montague Regional principal Seana Evans Renaud confirmed that grief counsellors will be available for the students when school resumes.
In an anguished post to Facebook, Isaiah’s mother wrote: "Joe you were such a good Daddy ... I will always keep those memories alive (for him). We love you so much."
Many students said the "boys" were harmless and it was just an outing to have some fun that turned horribly tragic.
"Accidents happen and it’s heartbreaking," said Tristen. "But they didn’t bring it on themselves."