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Dunsmuir tragedy: Surviving son greets mourners at viewing

Toronto Star
Thursday, 4 April 2013

Dunsmuir tragedy: Surviving son greets mourners at viewingMoving slowly toward a composed David Dunsmuir, the viewing procession passed the four caskets containing his entire immediate family.

At 24, David’s brave face greeted each mourner, one by one. He stood tall, absorbing the grief and sadness that surrounded him at the Newmarket visitation for his family, killed tragically in an East Gwillimbury house fire last week.

A line of more than 150 people crept along inside St. Elizabeth Seton Parish church beside the caskets, flowers and the collar of the family’s dog which also perished.

More than 300 more were outside, waiting in the sunshine to pay their respects to Kevin Dunsmuir, 55, his wife Jennifer, 51, and their sons Robert, 19, and Cameron, 16. They died in a second-floor bedroom as they waited for fire crews to arrive March 29.

Inside the church hall, the curtains were drawn. In one corner, a projector played a slide show of family photos — the boys dressed up as cowboys for Halloween, Kevin with a loving arm over Jennifer in a boat up north.

More than 1,000 people are expected to fill St. Elizabeth Seton for the family’s funeral on Friday.

The Dunsmuirs will be laid to rest in a Queensville cemetery, a small village north of Sharon where they lived.

Queensville is the location of the fire hall closest to the Dunsmuir home. It took more than 12 minutes for the largely volunteer fire service to respond to the home.

The Ontario Fire Marshal said Wednesday the home did not have a main-floor smoke detector and that the family was already trapped in the master bedroom when they called 911.

Detection and not a delayed response led to the tragedy, the fire marshal said.

The full-time firefighters at the neighbouring fire hall in Newmarket never got the call to help in the rescue.

A public memorial for the family will likely be held soon, with details coming next week.
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