Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik March 15, 2014 - 3:04 pm

Fire razes only school in tiny Nunavik village of Aupaluk

Staff, students were just starting spring break when fire broke out early March 15

SARAH ROGERS
A fire broke out at Tarsakallak school in Aupaluk early March 15, spewing smoke across the community of 195 people. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KSB)
A fire broke out at Tarsakallak school in Aupaluk early March 15, spewing smoke across the community of 195 people. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KSB)

A fire that broke out on the morning of March 15 has destroyed Aupaluk’s Tarsakallak School, the only school in the tiny community of about 195 people.

Police and volunteer firefighters were called to the fire just after 7 a.m.

But as the morning wore on, flames continued to eat their way through the building, while smoke filled the sky above Aupaluk.

Aupaluk’s small fire department fought the blaze for many hours, but by noon, the fire had burned through the entire structure.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News, the Kativik Regional Police Force said no injuries were reported and no foul play is suspected.

But members of the Sûreté du Québec were en route to the Ungava coast community March 15 to investigate.

Fifteen-year-old Qullik Cain, a high school student at Tarsakallak, was woken early Saturday by news of the smoke billowing over her community.

She spent the morning snapping photos of the fire and waiting to see what could be salvaged from her classroom.

“Everyone’s emotional, shocked and hurt because kids won’t be able to go to school for long,” she said.

Tarsakallak, which serves about 50 students, had just closed for spring break when the fire broke out.

Many school staff members had already left the community to head south for the week.

But a number of Kativik School Board commissioners saw the fire in person Saturday morning, following a commissioners’ meeting they held in Aupaluk this past week.

Kativik School Board spokesperson Jade Bernier said the board will inform Quebec’s department of education about the fire and look at alternative locations for holding classes.

By noon March 15, the school had been reduced to a smoking pile of twisted metal. (PHOTO BY QULLIK CAIN)
By noon March 15, the school had been reduced to a smoking pile of twisted metal. (PHOTO BY QULLIK CAIN)
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