‘Intimate, loving’ town of Port Colborne says goodbye to family killed in fire

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

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Many members of the community attended the private ceremony for Tammy Burd and her children Josh and Samantha, who died in a fire in their Port Colborne home. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

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.

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Tammy Burd and her children were buried together in a single casket. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

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.”

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Joe Zuvic arrives at the funeral for his children Samantha and Josh, who were buried with their mother in a single casket. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

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.

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Tammy Burd, with her children Samantha and Josh. All 3 were killed when their home went up in flames, along with the children’s great-grandmother, Eva Burd. (Tammy Burd/Facebook)

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.”

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More than 100 people were in attendance for the funeral of Tammy Burd and her children on December 23. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

 

With files from Clare Bonnyman

 

 

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