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Fire guts Iglulik's school bus
Ataguttaaluk students walking to school after blaze at hamlet parking garage

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 4, 2011

IGLULIK - Elementary school students in Iglulik will walk to class for the rest of the school year after the community's only school bus was destroyed in a fire last month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Firefighters battled a blaze at Iglulik's parking garage Jan. 11, caused by a corroded pipe. As the fire destroyed two vehicles, including the community's only school bus, elementary students are walking to school. - photo courtesy of Brian Fleming

Iglulik's three-bay parking garage caught fire Jan. 11, destroying two vehicles and damaging two others, said Brian Fleming, the hamlet's senior administrative officer.

"Unfortunately, one of them was a school bus and we just won't be able to provide bus service for the rest of this year," he said.

When RCMP arrived at the parking garage that morning at around 2:25 a.m., firefighters were already there battling the blaze, said Iglulik RCMP Sgt. Peter Marshall.

"When we were called to the scene, the structure was on fire. The school bus was on fire as well inside the structure. Mind you, there was a lot of smoke. They were able to salvage a sewer truck and actually drive the sewer truck out of the building," he said. "The fire department, they did a wonderful job in getting that blaze out."

RCMP Sgt. Jimmy Akavak said there were no injuries but the school bus was gutted along with one water truck. He added the sewer truck is salvageable while the fate of a garbage truck still needs to be determined. Akavak said preliminary estimates of the damages are at $1.5 to $2 million.

"It would appear the fire started from the ceiling area in the vicinity where one of the furnaces is located," he said, adding the office of the fire marshal deemed the fire not suspicious in nature. "Its investigation found the fire resulted from a corroded pipe."

Fleming added they are waiting for an insurance adjuster to determine the fate of the garage.

"In spite of the bus burning down, our attendance has not too rapidly changed. There is difference in the attendance in the morning," said Jeela Allurut, Ataguttaaluk Elementary School principal.

Both Mayor Lucasie Ivvalu and Fleming praised the work of the firefighters: Jesse Oolateeta, Kevin Attagutaalukutuk, Justin Mikki, Jerome Nutarakittuq, Michel Irngaut, Isreal Ivvalu, Tony Kunuk and Celestino Amarualik.

"We have really good firefighters and they put it out fairly quickly," said Ivvalu. "They were able to salvage one vehicle, which is the sewage truck."

"I thought the fire department did just a fantastic job of getting there quickly and they were very efficient at what they did, in terms of getting the fire under control," said Fleming.

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