Razmig Soukiassian

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FATHER DISTRAUGHT OVER LOSS OF 'REALLY GREAT KID'; MOM, TEENAGE SON DIE IN WEEKEND BLAZE IN POINTE CLAIRE by CHERYL CORNACCHIA

The Gazette November 9, 2011 Wednesday Montreal

Final Edition

The father of a 14-year-old boy who perished over the weekend in a Pointe Claire apartment fire said he is touched by the outpouring of love and support now being expressed by friends and fellow students of his son, many of whom arrived at St. Thomas High School on Monday morning with black armbands.

Razmig Soukiassian, a Secondary 2 student at the Pointe Claire high school, and his mother, Carolin Boghosian, died early Saturday morning when fire engulfed several units and the roof of a three-storey apartment building on St. Jean Blvd. near the corner of Douglas Shand Ave.

Eleven-year-old Raffi Soukiassian, Razmig's younger brother and a student at Beacon Hill Elementary, was rescued from a smoke-filled corridor outside the apartment unit that the boys' mother rented since she and the boys' father divorced in 2006.

"You know when they get to that age you don't know all of their friends," Gary Soukiassian, the boys' father, said Monday morning.

"When I visited the apartment building yesterday, a mother and daughter came up and were hugging me.

"They told me that the kids had all texted one another, and they would be wearing black armbands to school Monday.

"Raz was a very popular person," the father said, his voice choking back tears.

He explained he had full custody of the boys but they visited their mother every Wednesday as well as every other weekend. He said what was especially difficult was the fact his son had asked to forgo last weekend's visit to his mother because he had stuff he wanted to do at his Kirkland home.

He ended up going because his mother had planned a 14th birthday party for him.

Several media reports indicated birthday candles may have caused the fatal early morning blaze. However, police officials were unable to confirm that report.

"The cause is still undetermined at this moment," said Montreal police Constable Raphael Bergeron on Tuesday.

Bergeron said the investigation is being carried out by the police department's arson squad. One of the problems, he added, is that there is little physical evidence. Investigators are still conducting interviews with apartment building residents.

Razmig Soukiassian or "Raz" as he was known to his friends played with the Lakeshore Soccer Club and was a longtime member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union's youth scouts. A Facebook tribute page that was created over the weekend, R.I.P. Razmig Soukiassian, was "liked" by close to 1,000 people by Monday morning. The page was filled with heartfelt messages to "an amazing boy," "a role model" and "a good scout."

The young boy's funeral will take place at St. Gregory Illuminator Armenian Church, 615 Stuart Ave., Outremont. But arrangements will only be finalized after the coroner's investigation and autopsy are complete.


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