Two youths in cus­tody af­ter fire de­stroys Iqaluit’s largest gro­cery store

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

IQALUIT, Nunavut — two iqaluit youths are in cus­tody af­ter a se­ries of fires ear­lier this week in the Nunavut cap­i­tal, in­clud­ing one that dam­aged the city’s largest store and gro­cer.

RCMP said Fri­day charges of ar­son and dis­re­gard for hu­man life are pend­ing against the pair, who are not iden­ti­fied.

“as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gresses we’ll be able to re­lease more de­tails,” said Const. danielle Pol­lock.

of­fi­cers re­sponded to six fires over the span of six hours be­tween late Wed­nes­day and early thurs­day.

the largest be­gan at the back of the North­mart build­ing. Pa­trolling RCMP of­fi­cers no­ticed smoke at about 1:40 a.m. and evac­u­ated the store’s em­ploy­ees. the fire grew quickly and even­tu­ally de­stroyed much of the build­ing.

more than just a gro­cer, North­mart of­fered ev­ery­thing from clothes to fur­ni­ture to snow­mo­biles, as well as places to eat or sit for a cof­fee. res­i­dents de­scribed it thurs­day as a com­mu­nity hub.

its destruc­tion also cre­ated con­cerns about gro­cery sup­plies in the city, which has no road con­nec­tion and de­pends on air freight and barge ship­ments.

how­ever, iqaluit’s sec­ond gro­cery store said it would in­crease its air freight and take over a barge ship­ment orig­i­nally in­tended for its com­peti­tor. the ter­ri­to­rial gov­ern­ment said it would make stor­age space avail­able for food if nec­es­sary and make ar­range­ments to en­sure res­i­dents still had ac­cess to med­i­cal pre­scrip­tions.

the other five fires in­cluded four ve­hi­cle fires and one rub­bish fire near an un­in­hab­ited res­i­dence.

No in­juries were re­ported in any of the fires.

FranK rear­don/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Fire­fight­ers bat­tle a fire at Iqaluit’s largest gro­cery store on Thurs­day. Two youths have been charged in con­nec­tion with the fire that se­verely dam­aged the store, which served as a com­mu­nity hub in the Nunavut cap­i­tal.

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