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NNSL Photo/graphic

Smoke could be seen pouring out of a building at Hovat Construction on Coronation Drive Saturday afternoon. The blaze started at about 2 p.m. and kept 22 firefighters busy for five hours. The building was used for storage and to do cabinetry work. - photo courtesy of Ryan McNamara and Austin Clark

Fire destroys construction company warehouse

Erika Sherk
Northern News Services
Wednesday, March 7, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - A construction company is faced with up to $250,000 in damage after a fire destroyed its Kam Lake warehouse Saturday afternoon.

The business is looking at $100,000 to $250,000 in damages, said Eric Sputek, president of Hovat Construction located on Coronation Drive.

The fire started around 2 p.m. in a building used for storage and cabinetry work, the blaze quickly grew. Staff on-site tried to put out the fire when it started, said Sputek, but it quickly became too intense.

The fire department was called and four firefighters arrived. After assessing the situation and viewing heavy smoke pouring from the building, they called for more personnel, according to a fire department press release.

In total, 22 firefighters were at the scene, fighting the fire for five hours.

Eight emergency vehicles were there as well, including two fire trucks and two tanker trucks, according to Gerda Groothuizen, platoon C lieutenant.

The building had to be partly demolished to keep the fire from flaring up again, said Sputek.

A backhoe and front-end loader took care of this job, said Groothuizen.

Sputek said no one is sure exactly how it started.

"The only source of combustion in the building is the furnace," he said. "So it was something to do with the furnace, we’re just not sure what."

There was no one in the building when the flames started, though two employees had been working there earlier in the day.

"It was Saturday so it was pretty quiet," said Sputek.

Right now, he said, they’re focusing on clean-up and figuring things out with insurance.

"It’s an ugly expense to have at this time of year," he said.

The building is located away from the main plant and office, he said, so "it’s business as usual."

Clean-up and repairs are expected to take a few months, said Sputek.

-with files from Christine Grimard