CASTOR — Human remains were found in the ruins of a farm home destroyed by fire east of Castor last week.
“Non-identifiable human remains were located within the fire debris,” confirmed RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Josee Valiquette on Monday.
“They were forwarded to the medical examiner’s office in Calgary and it is expected the examination will continue this week.”
But Sgt. Valiquette said that because of the devastation caused by the fire, it hasn’t been officially determined how many people perished in the blaze.
Natalie Kenrick, public affairs officer for Calgary Coroner’s office, said that although she can’t comment on the particular case, 90 per cent of the investigations take about three months, with the more complex cases requiring additional testing.
The cause of the Dec. 8 fire is still under investigation by the provincial fire investigator, Sgt. Valiquette said.
Investigators, including Calgary Major Crimes, weren’t able to access the fire scene until late last week because of the condition of the structure and the debris, making it unsafe for investigators, Sgt. Valiquette said.
Sgt. Valiquette confirmed three people connected to the residence remained unaccounted for.
The farm was owned by Sandi and Gordon Klaus. Their middle-aged daughter, Monica, was visiting from Stettler that weekend.
Police say that between 7:30 and 8 a.m. that Sunday, Coronation RCMP were called to assist Castor and Coronation fire departments to a home fully engulfed in flames.
The Castor-Stettler region has been mourning the suspected loss of three Klaus family members who were well-respected in the community.
A tribute to them appears on the Parkland Funeral Chapels website, though no formal funeral plans have been confirmed.
“On behalf of (son and brother) Jason, (and) the Klaus and Berry families, we thank you all for your inquiries, thoughts, support and condolences,” reads a note signed by funeral director Dean Ross and staff.
“In this time of tragedy, on behalf of Jason and family, we ask for your patience and love.”