RCMP said human remains were discovered following a fire at an old office building in Powerview-Pine Falls, Man., on Wednesday.
Family members said the victim is 51-year-old Terrence Leonard Guimond of Sagkeeng First Nation.
Police said they received word of the fire, which took place near Pine Street, around 5:55 a.m.
When firefighters went inside the building, after the blaze was extinguished, they found the remains. No one else was hurt in the fire.
Powerview-Pine Falls fire chief Willy Kemball said the discovery of human remains came as a surprise.
“We didn’t even know anyone was in the building,” Kemball told CTV Winnipeg. “It should’ve been vacant.
“It’s been vacant since 2009.”
Norman Guimond, Terrence’s father, tells CTV News the RCMP has spoken with his wife Gloria.
“It’s hard,” said Norman. “It’s hard to go on but you have to. You have to keep going.”
Norman said the family suspected their son died as Gloria had lent Terrence a vehicle on New Year’s Day which they saw was left parked by the structure that burned.
Norman said Terrence was married with six children and was also a grandfather.
“He was always laughing and joking and he lived life,” said Norman. “He lived a good life. He never complained about anything.”
The RCMP said it has not confirmed the identification of the victim.
A wake for Terrence started Thursday in Sagkeeng, Norman said.
He said a funeral is being planned for Monday.
Fire chief Willy Kemball said the building was fully engulfed when crews arrived on scene.
“It was unsafe to even try and enter at the time,” Kemball said.
He said the building was constructed in either the 1930s or 1940s and contained old lumber and metal cladding.
Kemball said it belonged to the Woods Department, which cut and supplied wood to the now demolished Pine Falls paper mill.
Kemball noted the building had previously been used as storage and office space.
The investigation continues by the Powerview RCMP and the Office of the Fire Commissioner.