Foul play is not suspected in the deaths of four people found in the burned remains of a home in southwestern New Brunswick, police said Wednesday as they continued their investigation into the tragedy.
ST. GEORGE, N.B. -- Foul play is not suspected in the deaths of four people found in the burned remains of a home in southwestern New Brunswick, police said Wednesday as they continued their investigation into the tragedy.
RCMP Const. Isabelle Beaulieu said autopsies were ordered after the four bodies were recovered Tuesday from the old home in St. George, a town of 1,500 about 120 kilometres south of Fredericton.
Beaulieu couldn't confirm the identities of the victims or their ages.
But Rick Doucet, the area's member of the legislature, said those found inside were Esther Boyd and her adult sons Davey, Billy and Robbie.
Sterling Harris, a town councillor, said Davey Boyd was an honorary firefighter who had been at the fire hall Tuesday morning to see a new fire truck that had arrived that morning, adding that he had headed home at around noon, shortly before the fire.
"Esther was a woman in her 80s and she lost her husband a number of years ago," Doucet said in an interview. "They used to have the Boyd Brothers Hardware Store right there in St. George. It was a local establishment for many, many years."
Doucet said the deaths have left of sorrowful void in the community.
"We've got to determine what the cause was, and from there we've got to set a path forward," he said.
Harris said most residents knew Davey Boyd because he spent much of his time at the fire department, wearing his firefighter's uniform as he cleaned the trucks and their bays.
"Davey was the one that was a social butterfly -- everybody in town knew Davey," said Harris, who has known the family for about three decades. "It's devastating on the community ... The whole family going to be missed."
Harris said he went to the same Baptist church as Esther, who raised her sons on her own after her husband died. Doucet said each son, believed to be in their 50s, had mental challenges.
"She dedicated her life to them," Harris said, adding that local firefighters were particularly shaken by the tragedy.
"I went down to the firehall and the guys were in ... counselling because they knew Davey as one of their own ... Davey always wore his uniform proudly and, as a matter of fact, those were his clothes. That's what he wore all the time."
Police were investigating, but had not yet determined the cause of the fire at the home on South Street.
A photo posted on the Town of St. George Facebook page shows a fire truck with a banner across the top of the windshield that reads: "David B. Boyd 1961-2017."
Another post says plans are in the works to pay tribute to the honorary fireman.
"We lost a beloved family and a wonderful honorary member of our fire department for over 40 years," another post from the town says.
"We can not express in words how we are feeling but take comfort in knowing we are a strong community and we will make it through this together."
More than 120 people responded to that message.
"Davey was always so proud of his uniform and his town," said one resident. "He always wore a smile and that smile grew when you acknowledged him and his attire. His mom was a wonderful woman of faith who taught Sunday school when I was a kid and was kind and caring. She worked hard caring for her boys."
Said another: "I knew Esther. What a great example she set as she struggled daily to give her boys her best. I can still see Davey at the restaurant or walking the roads, forever smiling and proudly wearing his uniform ... God bless you St. George."
Neighbour Eleanor Blackier, who lives across the street from the Boyd home, said she spotted smoke pouring from the front door at around noon Tuesday. She said the smoke inside discoloured the windows.
Down the street, neighbour Isabel French said she didn't know the family well, but she stressed that everyone in town knew Davey Boyd.
"He was always a nice fella," she said, adding that he would often walk with firefighters during local parades. "He didn't talk much to anybody, but he was always around and about town."
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