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Family asks for help after Behchokǫ̀ house fire

Damage at the home of Louise Mantla from a fire in February 2019
Damage at the home of Louise Mantla from a fire in February 2019.

A family has launched an appeal for help after fire devastated a home in Behchokǫ̀ late last month.

Justin Mantla told Cabin Radio his family “lost almost everything” as fire swept through the Rae home of his mother, Louise Mantla, on February 23.

Nobody was injured but an online fundraiser for the family states the house was “completely destroyed.”

“The only thing that survived was my hockey bag,” said Justin. “Everything was so smoke-damaged – all our pictures, baby pictures, everything. Everything she treasured, gone.”



The family has been relocated to a smaller home in the community and is beginning to receive donations from residents able to help.

“A guy from Rae has given us a washer, a dryer, and a bed,” said Justin, “and a lady from Dettah bought us a table, cups, plates, and kitchenware.”

The cause of the fire is not clear, though the family believes a television may have malfunctioned and caught fire while nobody was home.

“The fire is not suspicious in nature,” NWT fire marshal Chucker Dewar told Cabin Radio. Dewar estimated the dollar value of damage to the property at $540,000.



“We have not concluded our investigation at this time in determining the cause and origin of the fire,” said Dewar.

Justin said: “The smoke was so bad, it damaged everything.”

A GoFundMe page established for the family by Yellowknife resident Tia Hanna stated the home had housed Louise and her two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.

“They have been relocated to smaller house and received a few items by donation but still need help rebuilding their lives,” read the GoFundMe page.

“Please give what you can to help this large, tight-knit family.”