Three of the people killed in the Dec. 9 fire were honoured in a private funeral Friday
CBC News Posted: Dec 23, 2016 10:32 AM ET
More than 100 people from the “intimate, loving” town of Port Colborne, Ont. people packed into St. Patrick’s Catholic Church to say goodbye to Tammy Burd and her children Samantha and Josh Zuvic.
The family, who were killed in a Dec. 9 house fire, were all buried in a single casket. Tammy was 37, her daughter Samantha 15, and her youngest son Josh was only two.
Krista Nadeau was one of the community members who attended the private ceremony. She said the tragedy had affected the entire town of around 18,000 people.
“It’s a small town,” said Nadeau. “An intimate, loving small town.”
She went to school with members of the family, and said “the family members are pretty close to my heart.”
She said the community was feeling “pure utter devastation and a lot of love. A lot of love and empathy, compassion and kindness.”
Also in attendance at the funeral was the region’s MP and former mayor of Port Colborne Vance Badawey.
The three are survived by Tammy’s husband, Joe Zuvic, and her uncle, Gary Burd, both of whom lived in the home and managed to escape the fire.
Also killed in the fire was the children’s great-grandmother, 83-year-old Eva Burd.
While the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, officials announced on Thursday that the victims died of smoke inhalation.
In their preliminary reports, the office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has indicated there is no reason to suspect foul play.
The bodies of the three victims had to be retrieved from the wreckage of the home. It took firefighters several days to locate and then remove the bodies, because of the extent of the damage.
Holly Paquin, who told CBC Hamilton she’s the long-time girlfriend of Tammy’s brother Jason, said that the Burds treated her like family. “This was my family too,” she said.
Paquin said that 15-year-old Samantha was “the most outgoing, caring, crazy girl,” and that the two year-old, Josh, “put a smile on your face every day.”
“That kid loved everyone,” she said, “and he barely got to live.”
With files from Clare Bonnyman