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    NNSL Photo/Graphic

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    Ndilo house fire suspicious

    Katie May
    Northern News Services
    Published Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A suspicious early-morning fire in Ndilo caused roughly $175,000 worth of damage to an abandoned house on Monday.

    Ndilo resident Richard Edjericon and Debbie Russell reported the fire at 5:12 a.m. after they saw thick black smoke billowing from house 302 on Tachee Road on his way to the airport.

    NNSL Photo/Graphic

    Yellowknife fire chief Albert Headrick, left, and deputy fire chief Gerda Groothuizen approach an abandoned house in Ndilo as it burns near the roof early Monday morning. - Katie May/NNSL photo

    Edjericon then went knocking on several nearby residents' doors to warn them of the fire.

    "Some of them were pretty hard to wake up," he said. "We noticed right away that it was unusual to see smoke that big."

    He said the Yellowknife fire department officer who received the call asked the two to keep an eye on the area until the crew arrived, which they did. Edjericon said he didn't see anyone around the house.

    At 5:23 a.m., when 19 firefighters and two fire chiefs arrived on scene with six fire vehicles and two RCMP units. Edjericon and Russell were blocked in near the house's driveway and missed a 6 a.m. flight.

    Gerda Groothuizen, deputy fire chief of life safety and prevention, said the department's response was delayed because the residents called RCMP instead of the fire and ambulance emergency phone line.

    Crews found the previously padlocked door open when they arrived, with most of the flames coming from the left rear corner of the house.

    The owner of the single-storey house hadn't been living there for quite some time, no one was inside at the time of the fire, Groothuizen said, and there was no power source to the residence.

    "There's absolutely nothing that would catch fire unless it was an individual," she said.

    The NWT fire marshal's office is investigating.