A large fire struck Inuvik’s warming shelter on Saturday evening, reportedly the second fire at the facility in as many nights.
The fire began shortly before 6:30pm at the shelter on Veteran’s Way, near Hawks Supply and the town’s liquor store. There was no suggestion of any casualties, as the building is understood to have been unoccupied.
There is so far no information regarding the fire’s cause.
Parts of the facility were reported to have been boarded up after a fire the night before.
Power supply to some homes and businesses was disrupted, also affecting home heating at a time when the local temperature was -25C. The warming shelter is in the vicinity of the NWT Power Corporation building. Power had returned for most residents by shortly after 7:30pm.
Damage from the Saturday fire appears extensive. The size of the fire was readily apparent from drone footage shared to Facebook by resident Kristian Binder. That footage showed at least eight emergency vehicles present at the scene.
Inuvik does have another warming facility, on Berger Street, but the Veteran’s Way location – now run by the NWT Housing Corporation – opened because the Berger Street building offered too little space to meet demand, particularly with capacity limits related to Covid-19 in place.
In a post to Facebook on Saturday evening, Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler said Paulie Chinna, the housing minister, had confirmed vulnerable people relocated by the first fire were staying at the Berger Street shelter.
“There were no residents at the Veteran’s Way location today when the second fire broke out this evening,” Semmler wrote.
In the longer term, it’s not yet clear where people who had been using the building will be accommodated.