'There's no natural cause or human error at work.'

RCMP probe blaze that razed Apex house


Fire tore through the Apex home of Martha and Ipeelee Inookee July 24 in the early hours of the morning, destroying the building within several hours despite the efforts of 17 Iqaluit firefighters.

RCMP Sgt. Kim Melenchuk said that the fire at building 3050 is under investigation.

Chris Wilson, the Iqaluit deputy fire chief said the fire, which apparently started on or near the porch, had no explainable cause.

"No one's given me a mechanical cause. The residents weren't doing any cooking or anything like that. There's no natural cause or human error at work," Wilson said.

When Wilson and 16 firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after 2 a.m., flames had already consumed about a quarter of the house.

Firefighters controlled the fire within 15 minutes, Wilson said, but they couldn't get to part of the building due to a downed power line. They waited until power was disconnected about 40 minutes later.

The delay didn't affect the fire's outcome, Wilson said.

The building was a loss before firefighters arrived because the fire had a "huge start," he said.

"As soon as I got there I realized this would be what we call ‘an exterior fire attack', so we're protecting the neighbouring houses," he said.

About 9 a.m., a bulldozer belonging to the City of Iqaluit was called in to open up the building so firefighters could put out the last of the fire.

By Monday, the charred remnants of the building had been completely removed from the site.

RCMP said the removal of the building would not hinder the police investigation into the cause of the fire.

At the time of the fire, there were at least eight people in the house. They said they were alerted to the blaze by the family dog, Butch.

The family, which had no insurance, suffered losses of about $50,000, and have since been moved into another social housing unit.

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