Blaze guts Nunatsiaq News office building

Building 157 is home to newspaper, sister company and other businesses

Firefighters and police respond to a fire at an Iqaluit office building that’s home to Nunatsiaq News and other businesses Tuesday morning. (Photo by David Lochead)

By Nunatsiaq News

Fire razed the building that is home to Nunatsiaq News and several other Iqaluit businesses.

Smoke could be seen billowing from the blue two-storey office building at 157 Nipisa St. throughout Tuesday morning. The fire began around 8 a.m. and grew throughout the day. By the afternoon, most of the building had burned.

City of Iqaluit spokesperson Aleksey Cameron said there were no injuries and that the building had been cleared of people. She also confirmed the building is completely levelled.

The City reported just before 4 p.m. that the fire had been put out.

Twenty firefighters and four bylaw officers responded to the fire, Cameron added.

Nunatsiaq News shared the second floor of the building with its sister company Ayaya Marketing and Communications.

Nunatsiaq News assistant publisher Julia Roberts said she is “devastated.”

“The most important thing is that our staff members that work in Iqaluit are safe and sound,” Roberts said, adding the fire started outside of work hours so there were no employees at the office at that time.

In terms of business operations, Roberts said staff will be able to work remotely.

The company tried to get more information from the fire marshal but the fire is still not under control, Roberts said Tuesday morning.

The building is also home to Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit, a language authority organization responsible for documenting and sharing expertise on the Inuit language.

“My work [building] is gone, I know that part,” said Jonah Kilabuk, who worked in the building with the language organization.

He said he was going to go into work at 8:30 a.m. but received a call that there was a fire.

“So I took a look [at the building], and there it was,” Kilabuk said, adding that he will have to work from home now.

There is also a second-floor apartment at the rear of the building.

The building is next door to a Quickstop and is a block south of the Arctic Ventures store.

Cameron said the cause of the fire had yet to be determined.

“We are unsure of the start area, however the mechanical room is our key room of interest,” she added.

Fire trucks were located at the back of the building in the earlier part of the morning. Firefighters were then seen opening the front door, allowing smoke to escape just before 10 a.m.

Other firefighters were seen on the roof of the building.

By 11:30 the fire had intensified. A fire truck was also in front of the building, extinguishing flames. By then there were no firefighters on the building.

By noon, the majority of the building was burned or on fire and an excavator was being used in an effort to fight the fire.

Parts of Nipisa Road were blocked to traffic Tuesday morning while first responders did their work.

The street was expected to be closed for the duration of the fire, the City of Iqaluit said in a statement Cameron issued Tuesday morning.

The city asked people to avoid Nipisa Street while firefighters were at the scene.

Water trucks were also responding to the area to assist firefighters. The city asked people to give the trucks room on the road, and to be aware there could be disruptions to trucked water service because water trucks were making the firefighting effort a priority.

  • Firefighters pour water on the blaze at 157 Nipisa St. in Iqaluit on Tuesday morning. (Photo by David Lochead)

 

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Dave on

    I’m so sorry to read about this. Nunatsiaq News is important to Iqaluit. I hope that they can recover.

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  2. Posted by Former Tenant on

    There are actually two separate apartments at the rear of this building. One on the ground floor, and one on the second story. Nunatsiaq is there any information about the tenants of those units? Did they get out okay?

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    • Posted by Former Tenant on

      CBC reported on the one resident in the upper level. I am assuming/hoping that means the lower apartment was empty.

      • Posted by Northerner on

        Second one probably denied being reported by cbc. Who knows?

    • Posted by Tenant on

      A tenant mentioned they lost everything on the local fb and is okay. Not sure if they’ll be able to find another place to rent.

      Terrible, good people are okay but honestly why are they so many fires in this town? Housing and space is already an issue, think we need more fire safety outreach of some sort.

  3. Posted by Eskimo Joe©️ on

    Very sorry for the loss, my deepest condolences. Hot press release, smoking🤓

  4. Posted by Angry inuit on

    Too many false accusations published in nunatsiaq news

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