Man, 34, faces arson charge after Iqaluit residence fire
Nunavut Arctic College moves students, programs after April 24 fire
Iqaluit RCMP have charged a 34-year-old man with arson-disregard for human life, following an April 24 fire at the Ukkivik residence of Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit.
Police laid the charge after Nunavut’s Office of the Fire Marshal completed its fire investigation on April 27.
The Iqaluit fire department responded to the Friday evening fire at the large three-storey building, also known in Iqaluit as the “old res,” at about 10:45 p.m., deputy fire chief George Seigler told Nunatsiaq News.
“Fire damage was minimal,” and limited to a second-floor dormitory room that appeared to be set up to accommodate three people, Seigler said.
Water damage, however, was substantial, “and that was due to two sprinklers going off,” he said.
Almost half of the building suffered damage, largely due to water, and the second floor “is not habitable because of the smell of smoke.”
“When we were finished, there was water coming out of the outlets and lights on the first floor,” the deputy chief said. “Pieces of gyprock were so soaked that they were falling down.”
The fire department estimated fire damage itself would amount to less than $5,000, he said, but could not give an estimate on the building as a whole — other than that it is “substantial,” Seigler said.
No injuries occurred in the incident. The college had to move 37 students out of damaged accommodations to other apartments in the city, Eric Corneau, dean for the Nunatta division of the college in Iqaluit, told Nunatsiaq News.
All language and culture programs will relocate to the main campus in Iqaluit, and fur production and design will move to the jewelry and metalwork shop near the post office, Corneau said.
Undamaged classrooms and offices on the first floor remain open.
Ukkivik’s kitchen, security staff and a territorial fisheries training program will remain there, for the time being.
“But we’re working on getting all of those people out of the building as well,” Corneau said.
The Ukkivik residence holds about 80 beds and a dozen classrooms, he said.
The college hosts classrooms and equipment for the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium’s training programs on the ground floor.
The RCMP did not provide more information on the suspect and circumstances of the fire by day’s end.
The Iqaluit fire department completed an investigation of the incident in conjunction with the Fire Marshal’s office and RCMP earlier in the day.
The Fire Marshal’s office has since taken the lead in the investigation, Seigler said.