UPDATE - Charlottetown police release names of three teens killed in weekend fire

Kenneth Cameron Irving, 15, Brandon Daniel Alexander MacKinnon, 16, and Joseph Allison Reeves, 19, died in an early morning fire at the former Sherwood Greens driving park

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 31, 2014

Charlottetown Fire Chief Randy MacDonald, left and Gary McGuigan, deputy chhief for police operations.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Police have released the names of three Kings County teenagers killed in a fire in Charlottetown Saturday.

Kenneth Cameron Irving, 15, Brandon Daniel Alexander MacKinnon, 16, and Joseph Allison Reeves, 19, of Montague died in an early morning fire in an abandoned former commercial building located along Mount Edward Road.

Through an obituary, family members announced “with grieving hearts’’ the sudden death of Reeves, who leaves behind his girlfriend and the couple’s son, Isaiah, who just turned one.

“Joseph will be greatly missed by all who came to know and love him,’’ the obit reads.

Charlottetown Police Services Deputy Chief Gary McGuigan calls the deaths a real tragedy.

“I don’t think we can begin to imagine what the families of these three young men are going through,’’ he said.

“You want to be respectful and your thoughts and prayers go out to these three families.’’

Police have contacted Victim Services to assist the families of the victims.

McGuigan says police had been focusing their investigation on positively identifying the three victims found in the fire. A fourth young male — a Grade 9 student from Cardigan whose name has not been officially released — was able to escape with his life but suffered severe burns.

“We are still waiting for medical clearance to speak with him,’’ said McGuigan.

“We are being respectful of his injuries and his recovery ... We are sure that he will be able to shed some light on the events and activities that these four boys were involved in.’’

Police say the investigation will now focus on determining a time line of events on the four youth leading up to the tragic event. At this point police do not suspect foul play.

A lone police officer was securing the site Monday at the gutted, charred remains of the building that can be clearly seen by passersby on Mount Edward Road.

Autopsies were performed Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the three teenaged victims whose bodies were found inside the burning building that had been boarded for some time in order to keep people out.

“It was an unoccupied building that the owner took steps to secure,’’ said McGuigan.

The building had not been in use for several years. However, area residents said they often saw young people hanging around the structure but mainly in the summertime.

Charlottetown fire inspector Winston Bryan was at the scene over the weekend and again Monday. He is now concentrating his investigation on a certain area of the structure.

“There is a substantial amount of debris that has to be sifted through and still a tremendous amount of work that has to be done in order to try and determine the cause and the origin of the fire,’’ said McGuigan.

“This is further complicated by the weather and the integrity of the structure due to the fire damage. The investigation will be thorough and meticulous.’’

There was no electricity in the building.

The fire is believed to have ignited shortly after 5 a.m. Saturday and quickly engulfed the building in tall flames and thick, dark smoke.

Many people would be quite familiar with the property where the building had been sitting vacant for several years.

The 15-acre portion of land on Mount Edward Road behind the Charlottetown Mall was home to the Jack Frost children’s winter festival until the event was cancelled in 2013 and moved to the new Charlottetown Event Grounds this past winter.

Development of a major housing project is underway on the property.