A fire that spread rapidly on Saturday morning has destroyed multiple townhomes in downtown Yellowknife.
The Northview-owned Garden Townhomes were evacuated at around 9am as fire took hold of the building’s upper floors beside the Capital Suites hotel.
Emergency responders said nobody was harmed and the fire’s cause has not yet been determined. The NWT’s Office of the Fire Marshal will investigate.
A dozen units are understood to have been partially damaged or entirely destroyed. An initial estimate from a group of residents supporting the displaced families suggests more than 40 people are affected.
Some Yellowknife residents have launched a Facebook group coordinating donations for people left without homes.
Crews worked for hours in an attempt to contain the fire, even using heavy equipment to tear down damaged homes in a bid to stop the fire spreading.
By 1:30pm, the City of Yellowknife said the “entire building has been involved” at 5605 50 Avenue.
The city said complex owner Northview “has made arrangements for accommodations for the displaced occupants.”
For much of Saturday, the neighbouring Franklin Avenue – Yellowknife’s main street – was closed to traffic as fire crews attempted to tackle the fire from both sides of the townhomes.
Traffic was redirected down Matonabee St and 57 St.
Garden Townhomes is a rental complex of 48 row-style three-bedroom homes.
RCMP spokesperson Cpl Matt Halstead said emergency services were alerted to the fire via 911 just after 9am on Saturday.
By 12:30pm, he said all residents of the townhomes had been accounted for and no injuries had been reported to police.
Halstead said the Yellowknife Fire Division would remain at the scene throughout the day to ensure there are no flare-ups and wait for the fire marshal to arrive.
He said the affected units appeared to be uninhabitable.
"Just an unbelievably tough year for people," Halstead wrote by email.