Police in Yellowknife say they have interviewed a “person of interest” regarding a fire at Northern United Place described as suspected arson by the city’s fire chief.
There were no injuries resulting from Tuesday’s fire at the downtown building, which is home to a number of Elders and serves as the Yellowknife campus for Aurora College.
Elders and students were briefly evacuated in extremely cold conditions while firefighters tackled the fire.
RCMP said there appeared to be no structural damage to the building. The City of Yellowknife said damage was contained to a dumpster in the basement, preventing a far more serious incident.
Yellowknife’s fire chief, John Fredericks, told Cabin Radio on Tuesday he believed someone had lit a garbage bag on fire and sent it down the building’s garbage chute.
On Wednesday, police said the cause of the fire had still to be officially determined by the NWT’s fire marshal. A police investigation is “open and ongoing,” a statement issued by RCMP read.
“Early investigation indicates the fire may have been human-caused,” the statement continued.
“In this case the sprinkler systems were functioning and contributed to the containment of the fire, thus preventing injuries and potential serious damage to the building.”
Staff Sergeant Yannick Hamel, Yellowknife RCMP operations manager, said: “While our investigation is in its early stages, RCMP have identified and interviewed a person of interest.
“Once the Office of the Fire Marshal has determined the cause of the fire, any criminal element would be determined by the RCMP. No charges have been laid at this time.”