Inuvik’s fire chief said back-to-back fires at the town’s warming shelter were not suspicious in nature as she confirmed one firefighter had been hurt in the response.
Cynthia Hammond said that while nobody had been directly injured by either fire, a firefighter who slipped on an icy surface was in a stable condition at the town’s hospital.
The warming shelter, on Veteran’s Way, was damaged by fires on both Friday and Saturday.
In a Sunday news release, Hammond said the cause of Friday evening’s fire “was determined to be electrical.” Witnesses had reported a fire in a bathroom at the building and one had tried to tackle it using a fire extinguisher. Twenty firefighters needed four hours to put out the fire.
After that, Hammond confirmed, vulnerable people who would ordinarily have used the shelter were moved to another location. By the time of Saturday’s fire, nobody was in the building.
The Saturday fire’s cause was not made clear but Hammond said it was “not suspicious” and being investigated further.
Saturday’s fire required 22 hours of sustained work by up to 25 firefighters. Hammond thanked residents for the food and drinks provided to fire crews as they worked.
An excavator was eventually used to reach isolated pockets of fire.
“The building has since been returned to the Government of the Northwest Territories,” Hammond said.