Three members of a family in Mukwiza Village, Gatsibo District, died when fire burnt the house they were sleeping in yesterday, officials said.
The deceased were identified as Faustin Kamonyo, 67, his eight-month pregnant wife Leocadia Mukamparirwa, 35, and their 3-year old child.
Five children of the couple survived the 1am fire incident as they slept in a separate house, according to officials.
Gatsibo Sector executive secretary Oswald Nyakana said the fire is suspected to have started from a charcoal bag that had been brought from the field.
“Kamonyo was one of the local charcoal burners. He stored a bag of charcoal in his house, little did he know that some of it was still burning. It turned into a huge fire which burned the whole house in the middle of the night,” he said.
The bodies, he added, were taken to Ngarama Hospital for post-mortem, while the children are receiving counselling from relatives and neighbours as authorities plan some form of support.
Athanase Murengezi, a neighbour, said the tragic family earned a living from charcoal burning and could not risk leaving it outside.
Police said there was no suspicion of foul play, although the cause of the fire was still being investigated.