Two youths in custody after Iqaluit fire
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.