Solvent abuse in Arctic Bay ends in explosion

Girls suffer burns after snorting propane



Three young girls suffered severe burns to their hands and faces when propane they were sniffing from a barbecue tank exploded last Saturday.

The Arctic Bay youngsters, aged 9 to 11, were treated at the local health care centre for first, second and third degree burns. The 11-year-old was flown to the regional hospital in Iqaluit for further treatment.

She received burns to less than 10 per cent of her body and was listed in stable condition earlier this week. The other two are expected to travel to Iqaluit for follow-up treatment.

The girls, along with another girl and an older boy, had been sniffing propane from a barbecue tank stored in a shed belonging to one of their parents. One of the youths ignited a lighter which in turn ignited the propane fumes and caused a minor explosion. Fire destroyed some of the contents of the shed before it was extinguished.

RCMP Constable Harvey Seddon said all those involved were under 18 years of age and police haven’t determined whether or not charges will be laid. Seddon said it’s the first such incident he’s seen in his eight-month stint in nearby Nanisivik.

“There aren’t a lot of barbecues in the area and there’s not a great supply of propane,” he said.

“There is some solvent abuse but it’s not an overwhelming problem,” he added.

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