Geoff Taber and Jacquie Gardner, two Toronto lawyers and their sons have died after their million dollar Ontario cottage home went up in flames. How?
Two top Toronto lawyers, Geoff Taber and his wife, Jacquie Gardner along with their two children have died in a tragic fire that swept their home vacation home in Ontario on Christmas Eve.
While police have yet to officially confirm the identities of the victims, a report via cbc.ca cited outpouring of commiseration on social media for the Toronto based attorneys along with their two teenager sons, Scott and Andrew aged 15 and 13 respectively. Other reports cited the sons being 10 and 12
Also perishing in the fire were the family’s two large dogs which were caught in the blaze that decimated the family’s cottage near Peterborough on Stoney Lake.
Beguiling investigators is what came to cause the fire?
According to the National Post, police were called out to the vacation home just before 4am Saturday at 614 Hamilton Dr N near McCracken’s Landing in Douro-Dummer Township.
— Papa Andy ✨ (@pedalpapa) December 26, 2016
A press statement released from Const Jason Folz of the Peterborough County OPP told of four bodies being pulled from the cottage, along with the bodies of their pets.
He added that the entire home was destroyed and all of the upper levels collapsed into the basement.
Responding to the tragedy, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, the firm where Taber was a partner described him as a ‘vibrant and wonderful person’ in a statement released Monday.
‘There are no words adequate enough to express the depth of sorrow we feel about the tragic death of Geoff and his beloved wife Jacquie and sons Scott and Andrew,’ managing partner Dale Ponder wrote in the statement.
He added that Gardner had also worked at Osler before moving on to Altamira Investment Services.
‘Geoff and Jacquie were first and foremost loving parents to their two remarkable sons,‘ he said in the statement. ‘We will miss them terribly.’
Reiterated family friend, Anne Donald: ‘They were lovely, open, giving and social. Their kids were beautiful … just remarkable people,’
Adding: ‘[The family] was really excited about going up to the cottage and celebrating Christmas up there.’
The visit to the cottage had been the family’s first Christmas at the new holiday home.
Taber and his wife purchased the cottage for $1-million earlier this year.
According to local business owner who knew the family, the 4,000-square-foot cottage was made entirely of timber.
The family friend said the home was ‘in very good condition’ with the family doing some ‘cosmetic’ renovations before moving in.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is continuing its investigation to determine the cause of the fire, as investigators look into the role that a baseboard heating system and a propane tank may have played, as well as whether candles may have been in use.
Investigators also said they were are also trying to determine whether any working smoke alarms were present at the scene.
To date no foul play is suspected as authorities now plan to carry out autopsies.