A young woman died in a house fire on the Malahat Nation reserve early Thursday morning, June 10, after alerting others in the house to the blaze.
According to a GoFundMe fundraiser set up to benefit the family, the victim was 18-year-old Lillian Jimmy-Harry.
Neighbours said the house belonged to an elder, Tom Harry. Tom and Audrey Harry are named as Jimmy-Harry’s grandparents on the GoFundMe page.
Police said four other people made it out of the house safely because Jimmy-Harry alerted them to get out.
The GoFundMe page reported that Jimmy-Harry was survived by her grandparents, parents Gord Harry and Matilda Jimmy, nine siblings, two aunties and three uncles. Her funeral was held on Tuesday, June 15.
The Mill Bay Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call around 2:30 a.m., finding a house on Thunder Road, across from the band office, in flames. Firefighters were still on the scene as of 10:30 a.m.
Cpl. Gregg Strom of the Shawnigan Lake RCMP said on Thursday afternoon that police had been on the scene all day, and would be there on Friday as well, assisting with the coroner’s investigation, and that a fire investigator would be on hand on Friday as well. Strom noted that the Malahat Nation and RCMP Victim Services had been providing support to the victim’s family.
“RCMP is working closely with the local area fire department and IDGIS in an effort to identify the cause of the fire, said Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the BC RCMP. “While the investigation is still in it’s infancy, early indications are the fire was not criminal.”