Hamilton home blaze kills five

Neighbours could do little but watch as a mother who had fled outside screamed for her three children as a fire tore through a Hamilton home Saturday.

Neighbours tried in vain to stop her from re-entering the house. The mother was killed along with two of her children under age five. A third child later died in hospital.


The body of a 19-year-old man was discovered in the living room after firefighters brought the blaze under control.

Investigators have identified the victims as 22-year-old Melissa Denhollander and her daughters Emma Denhollander-Hanigan, four, Ella, two, and Alana, one. Ella had been evacuated and placed on life support in hospital but later succumbed to her injuries.

Denhollander’s 28-year-old boyfriend, Richard Griffin — who neighbours said jumped out of an upper storey window — remains in hospital where he’s recovering from burns and smoke inhalation.

A younger man named Josh and a woman named Chantal also lived in the house, neighbours said. A 20-year-old woman has since been treated in hospital and released.

Pierre Yelle of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office said the tragedy may have been averted had there been working smoke detectors inside.

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