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Smoke and flames billow from an old sixbay garage while firefighters try to contain a blaze in Arviat early last Friday morning. - photo courtesy Pierre Ikakhik

Fire destroys Arviat garage

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A homeless young man trying to keep warm accidentally started a fire that destroyed the Hamlet of Arviat's old six-bay garage this past Friday, June 8.

The structure, which was completely destroyed, was being used for storage at the time of the fire.

Arviat Mayor Bob Leonard said the person who started the fire actually phoned it in early Friday morning. He said if a building in the hamlet had to burn down, he was glad it was that one, but it's still a costly blow to the hamlet.

"There was no heat or electricity in the building at all," said Leonard.

"But, it always hurts to lose warehousing space in the North because it's so expensive.

"The young fellow who started it was temporarily homeless and was, kind of, camping out in there with a candle.

"So, we're calling it accidental and not looking at any repercussions from it."

Leonard said the aftermath looks a lot worse than it actually is, because the building housed a large number of plastic containers filled with a product used on the airport runway for dust control.

He said the manufacturer was contacted and the product is both benign and inert.

"It looks bad, because it kind of looks like oil floating on the water and stuff, but it doesn't pose any threat.

"None of our firefighters have reported any health problems since the blaze, but it is something that concerns me.

"We're going to find out and record what we have in every building going forward from this.

"It certainly woke us up, and we realize we have to be more prepared for this kind of thing in the future."

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