2 ar­rested af­ter fires in Nu­navut

The Daily Courier - - CANADA - By The Cana­dian Press

Youths in cus­tody af­ter Iqaluit’s largest gro­cery store de­stroyed by blaze

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.

The Cana­dian Press

A fire burns at a North­mart store in Iqaluit, Nu­navut, on Thurs­day.

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