'Beautiful people, wonderful neighbours': Oakville couple killed in house fire identified
Champaben (left) and Vaz Patel were killed in an Oakville house fire Sunday. - Family supplied photo
 
The Oakville couple killed in a fire, in a house in which they were no working smoke alarms, have been identified.
 
Vaz and Champaben Patel, aged 63 and 62, were known in their community for their generosity and overall kindness.
 
Some, like longtime neighbour John Keith, remember Champaben for bringing gifts or delectable treats to his family and other neighbours while others say the couple wouldn't hesitate to invite neighbours over for a summer barbecue.
 
"We are all devastated," said Keith. "They were beautiful people, wonderful neighbours."
 
The Office of the Fire Marshal issued a statement on Jan. 13, laying out the cause of the fire at 399 Princess Anne Cres., in the area of Kerr Street and Speers Road.
 
“The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental, whereby lit candles came into contact with draped material,” reads the statement issued by Public Relations Officer Carol Gravelle.
 
Oakville Fire Chief Brian Durdin said the candles were located in a small prayer room and that linens there caught fire.
 
The Fire Marshal statement went on to note there was no smoke alarm on the second floor of the home, and a smoke alarm on the main floor was not operational.
“This tragic fire is a timely reminder to install and test smoke alarms,” reads the statement.
 
“It’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas in your home.”
 
Durdin said smoke alarms give people that crucial time needed to get out of a burning house.
 
The Patels lived in the neighbourhood for decades, neighbours said, and had two adult sons. The two men are holding a memorial for their parents and are devastated, one family member said.
 
-with files from David Lea

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