Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit October 11, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Fire guts former Iqaluit dental clinic near hospital

Firefighters also quell blaze at apartment building

BETH BROWN
Iqaluit firefighters stand near the site of an evening fire on Oct. 10 at building 526, believed to have been cause by failed electrical wires.  
(PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Iqaluit firefighters stand near the site of an evening fire on Oct. 10 at building 526, believed to have been cause by failed electrical wires. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
This unoccupied GN building, used most recently as a dental clinic, caught fire in Iqaluit on the evening of Oct. 10.
This unoccupied GN building, used most recently as a dental clinic, caught fire in Iqaluit on the evening of Oct. 10.

An Iqaluit building located near the old Baffin hospital has been left gutted by fire after an evening blaze that fire officials say was caused by an electrical failure. 

Building 526, an unoccupied Government of Nunavut building previously used as a dental clinic, caught fire Oct. 10 at around 9:30 p.m.

Firefighters responded to a call when smoke was seen coming out of the roof, Iqaluit’s deputy fire chief, Stephane Dionne, told Nunatsiaq News Oct. 11.

Firefighters, who contained the blaze within the single-storey building, took about an hour and a half to extinguish it.

“This one was a big one, so I needed the maximum personnel I could have,” Dionne said.

That meant about 24 volunteer and full-time firefighters were at the fire, which is next to the old hospital, now part of the newer Qikiqtani General Hospital.

“The inside is totaled. It is a total loss,” he said. Damage on the building’s exterior, which can be seen from the road, happened during a different fire two years ago.

The fire is not considered suspicious.

“It looked like electrical issues, where something failed in the house. It is not arson. We know that for a fact,” Dionne said.

No one was inside the building at the time.

Dionne said his detachment arrived at the fire en route from another fire at an apartment in the 2600 block.

The fire in the apartment unit was extinguished quickly and there was minimal damage.

That fire likely started because filters for the washing machine fan and the dryer lint trap in the apartment were not cleaned, he said.

The building was evacuated and no one was injured. “The tenant was able to return to the apartment in the same night,” he said.

The two fires come right at the beginning of Fire Prevention Week in the City of Iqaluit, Dionne said. 

The theme for the awareness week is “every second counts.”

“When the fire goes, everything goes really fast,” Dionne said.

He advises that residents should have a fire escape plan with two escape routes in place to help get out quickly and safely if a fire happens inside their home.

The city is hosting an open house at the fire hall on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The event will include a tour of the fire hall where participants can:

• examine a fire truck up close;

• see a demonstration of a “live burn” where a living room will be set on fire;

• practice how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire; and,

• enjoy a barbecue.

Fire escape plans should be practised twice each year, in the daylight and in the dark and children should be shown how to escape from a fire on their own, a city public service announcement said.

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