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Central Ontario community mourning fire death of 7-year-old boy

'It's like a nightmare,' says boy's great aunt
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Amid the tears there are agonizing questions.

Relatives of 7-year-old Dominic Denesiuk-Smith want to know what happened when the autistic boy died in a house fire last Thursday.

"It's like a nightmare," said the child's heartbroken great aunt, Denise Langille of Oshawa. 

"We have a lot of questions. We're waiting for some answers."

Emergency crews were called to the house fire on Highway 26 near County Road 10 in Clearview Township around 9 p.m. Thursday.

The OPP said that when the crews arrived, four occupants had escaped safely out of the home which was then fully engulfed.

But the seven-year-old boy was still trapped inside.

"Despite rescue efforts by first responders and people at scene, the victim could not make it out and died in the fire," said the OPP.

On Saturday, the Clearview Fire Chief tweeted that four investigators from the province's Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) along with Clearview Fire and the OPP had completed the fire investigation.

The Fire Chief said the blaze was 'non-suspicious and accidental.'

Dominic lived at the home with his father and a family of six, including two children aged 11, 12 and an 18-year-old.  

The young boy, who lost his mother in a tractor incident seven years ago, has an older half-brother James, 11, who is being raised by Langille. 

Both boys have autism, but Dominic was mostly non-verbal.

"He was just a loving kid. He was happy and kind. He was just a sweet little boy. Just so innocent," said Langille. 

"I want the world to know him and remember him."

And for James' sake, she also wants people to remember he also lost his mom and now his little brother.

Langille and James hadn't seen Dominic for a couple of years but kept in touch with his dad through Facebook.

"Two boys lost their mom but had different fathers. Even though they were separated James knew he had a brother. It was important to him," she said. 

A GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/xsvt6-family-loss-everything-in-fire has been set up for the families who had no insurance. 

Just over $24,000 had been raised.

"This family is in need of everything and any donations would be greatly appreciated. Starting from the bottom is not easy," it reads. 

Relatives gathered at Langille's home all weekend to support James and share their shock and grief. 

For Langille, the loss of Dominic is like reliving the moment seven years ago when she got the call about his mom's death.  

Langille has talked to Dominic's dad Donald, who she commends for being a single dad to a son with special needs. 

Donald wasn't home when the blaze broke out.

"He said he's all he had. He really loved his son. He lived for him," she said.

 

 


Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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