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Family of four perishes in cottage blaze

Jan. 2, 2017, Douro-Dummer, Ont. -  A Toronto law firm is remembering one of its partners as a "vibrant and wonderful person" after news that a family of four died in a fire near Peterborough, Ont.

January 2, 2017 
By The Canadian Press

Police said the fire broke out early Christmas Eve in a large cottage on Stoney Lake.

Const. Jason Folz of the Peterborough OPP said four bodies were pulled from the building, along with the bodies of two pets.

He called the incident a Christmas tragedy.

While police have yet to confirm the the victims’ identities, friends and family took to social media to mourn Geoff Taber, his wife Jacquie Gardner — also a lawyer — and their two sons.


Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, the firm where Taber was a partner, released a statement Monday confirming the family’s death and expressing condolences.

Managing partner Dale Ponder wrote in the statement that the couple were “first and foremost” loving parents to their two sons.

“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,” she wrote.

She 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,” she said in the statement. “We will miss them terribly.”

Folz said the entirety of the cottage was destroyed in the blaze, and all of the upper levels collapsed into the basement.

The Office of the Fire Marshal is continuing its investigation into the cause of the fire, but Folz said it may be slow-going because of forecasted freezing rain.

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