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'We're going to miss them': Sister mourns family of five killed in Brampton fire

A police vehicle is parked in front of a home in Brampton, Ont., in which a family of five died in a house fire, on Monday, March 28, 2022. A fundraiser has been set up to cover the funeral arrangements and memorial costs after two generations of a family died in a fatal fire in Brampton, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

A family of five who died in a Brampton, Ont., house fire were remembered Tuesday as "full of life" by loved ones who mourned them.

Nazir Ali, 28, his wife Raven Alisha Ali-O’Dea, 29, and children – Layla Rose Ali-O’Dea, 7, Jayden Prince Ali-O’Dea, 8, and Alia Marilyn Ali-O’Dea, 10 – died Monday after a fire tore through their home.

Ali's sister, Bismah Fatimah Ali, said she and the rest of her family were devastated.

"My brother and his kids and his wife were full of life. They always brought family in a community. They were very loving and very caring and pure-hearted people," she told reporters outside the burned home on Tuesday.

"It's just really devastating and we're going to miss them. And I feel like it's never going to be the same."

Raven Alisha Ali-O’Dea's mother, who also lived in the home, was taken to a trauma centre after the fire in critical condition. Two tenants who lived in the basement of the home were able to get out without any injuries.

The Office of the Fire Marshal, Peel Regional Police and Brampton Fire are currently investigating the origin, cause and circumstances of the fatal blaze, which came two months after another house fire took the lives of three brothers in Brampton.

Fire Marshal Jon Pegg said a family member believes the smoke alarms were not working in the Ali-O'Dea family home – something that investigators are currently examining.

"If you don't have a working smoke alarm, unfortunately we're going to see more tragedies like (the one) over my shoulder," he said outside the family home Tuesday.

Brampton Fire Chief Bill Boyes said firefighters and fire prevention officers checked homes nearby and found that some of them did not have working smoke alarms. He implored people to have working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and a home escape plan in the event of a fire to prevent similar tragedies.

"We can't see more people in the province of Ontario and city of Brampton perish in a fire," Boyes said. "It's completely unacceptable and it's completely preventable."

Meanwhile, Bismah Fatimah Ali launched an online GoFundMe campaign for the family to help cover their funeral costs.

On the fundraising page she described her brother and his wife as "two of the most amazing young people, who dedicated their lives to their children." She called her nieces and nephew "little angels" who were their grandparents' "pride and joy."

"We are extremely grateful for the support from our communities and their leaders," she wrote. "We are also very thankful for the valiant effort made by the fire/police/paramedics to keep our family whole."

She said her family will share more information about funeral services in the next few days.

"Hold the ones you love close to you, be grateful for waking up. You are not promised tomorrow," she wrote on the fundraiser page.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2022.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Noushin Ziafati, The Canadian Press

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