Fire evacuates high-rise
Smoke and water damage extends to five floors of Northern United Place

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 16/99) - Yellowknife firefighters were called to extinguish a fire on the ninth floor of Northern United Place, Monday afternoon at around 12:30.

While initial estimates for the entire damage resulting from the fire were not available at press time, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Lowing said the damage from the fire alone exceeded $20,000.

"The actual fire loss is around $20,000 and around $1,000 for contents," Lowing said.

The major cost from the fire will come from the water damage, which extended to four floors below the fire, Lowing said.

"The fire was contained to that particular room, but water damage extended to the ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth and minor damage to parts of the fifth floor," he said.

The building was evacuated, but Lowing said none of the building's tenants were displaced by the fire.

"That part of the building is used by Aurora College for student housing and there are very few people in that part of the building as they are just getting ready for their fall session."

The building's sprinkler system prevented the blaze from spreading beyond the vacant suite, Lowing said.

"The fire occurred and the sprinkler system activated in response to the fire," he said.

"When the sprinkler system came on it held the fire in check until firefighters arrived and extinguished the remainder of the fire."

While the suite was unoccupied, Lowing said some furniture had recently been moved into the suite.

Lowing said the exact cause of the fire is still undetermined.

"The investigation is still ongoing," Lowing said. "We will confirm that the fire started on the stove."

Lowing said the sprinkler system stopped the fire from spreading beyond the vacant suite.

"Had there been no sprinkler system, it would have been an entirely different situation," Lowing said.

Northern United Place building manager Craig Shenher was relieved no one was hurt or displaced by the fire and said the priority was the cleanup.

"Water damage is the biggest concern right now, it's probably going to affect six or seven apartments directly below the fire where the sprinkler was." Shenher said.

"We have cleaning crews working on it right now, so it may not affect them that much."