Fire investigation continues
RWED called in to clean up diesel

Janet Smellie
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 24/00) - The Yellowknife fire department is continuing its investigation into Tuesday's diesel fire at 123 Ellesmere Road in Kam Lake.

Firefighters were called in after a fire, deliberately set by staff of Bernie's Ltd. to burn off about 400 litres of spilt diesel fuel, got out of control.

"Mr. (Bernie) Kapalka advised that on the weekend one of his staff had overfilled one of the service vehicles for the company. The operator walked away while the vehicle was being filled and approximately 400 litres ran onto the ground around the tanks," Lowing said.

Lowing said Tuesday afternoon Kapalka decided to burn it off and covered the area with snow to slow the fire growth. But soon after it was lit it grew out of control, and started spreading towards the buildings and nearby fuel storage tanks.

As well as quickly becoming a "full-alert" fire, the fire department called in Renewable Resource officers to assess the damage and arrange a cleanup.

"The fire department is still reviewing the case," Lowing said, adding, because there was no fire permit involved and there was a hazardous substance involved, there are a number of options under the Emergency Response and Protective bylaw.

He added that the review is taking into account that there was no intention to set such a huge fire, and that two of Kapalka's workers did attempt to put out the blaze when it got too hot to handle with fire extinguishers.

Lowing says he expects Chief Mick Beauchamp will complete his review of the fire by early next week.