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Sunday, September 26, 2021

‘It’s just heartbreaking’: Amherst, N.S. devastated after family of six killed in fire

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AMHERST, N.S. — Residents of Amherst, N.S. are grieving after a family of six was killed in a trailer fire on Sunday evening.

Residents said the loss of the family of two adults and four children is unimaginable.

“To think of a family completely taken by a fire, four small children, it’s just heartbreaking,” said David Kogon, Amherst mayor.

The family members who died in the camper trailer were identified on Monday as 30-year-old RJ Sears, 28-year-old Michelle Robertson, three-year-old Colin, four-year-old Jaxson, eight-year-old Robert and 11-year-old Madison.

According to a Facebook post by the Town of Amherst and Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, a memorial has been setup in Victoria Square where people can go to pay their respects to the victims.

“It really hits hard,” said Kogon. “Things are bad enough when its adults but when its children, it’s a tenfold increase in the sadness and the devastation. Not something anyone wants to deal with.”

Smith-McCrossin said the news is devastating in a town that is very closely knit.

“You’re either related or friends with one another and any time there’s a loss of a child, in this community we’ve just lost four children, it hits home,” said Smith-McCrossin.

Three of the four children lost attended school at Cumberland North Academy in Amherst.

The Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education confirmed the information in a post on Twitter on Tuesday.

In the Twitter post, the organization says, “Right now, our priority is to support our students and staff members of Cumberland North Academy where these sudden losses will leave a lasting impact on those who knew them.”

School psychologists, as well as the student services consultant and school counsellor, will be at the school to provide any support needed.

“You have a whole school of children that have just lost friends,” said Smith McCrossin. “You have teachers impacted, you have coworkers impacted.”

Both Kogon and Smith-McCrossin say their hearts also go out to the first responders involved.

“This is really the worst case scenario that any of them (first responders) could ever experience in their job,” said Smith McCrossin. “Life changing. Life changing for them.”

Despite the heartbreak, Kogon says his community will step up to support one another through the difficult time.

“There will be great support as best that can be provided and that’s emotional support, and I’m sure there will be financial support,” said Kogon. “This community will really pull together in times like this. I’m very proud to say.”

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