Hampered by intense cold, Iqaluit firefighters douse Tundra Valley blaze
“All this was raging out of control, so we could not get in”
A fire gutted the interior of a house in the Tundra Valley subdivision of Iqaluit Feb. 4.
The fire department received a call about a fire at building 2551 at about 9:05 p.m. Feb. 4, said Iqaluit’s fire chief, Luc Grandmaison.
“It took us about an hour to bring the fire under control. We had heavy volumes on the ground floor,” Grandmaison said.
“I’d say half of the house has burned,” he said.
One of the house’s four occupants was in the building when the fire started, but the person was not injured.
About 20 firefighters fought the blaze. They left at around 1:30 a.m. after they had contained it.
Temperatures dipped to -41 C, with the wind chill, during the fire.
That kind of cold makes “a fire this time of year very hard” because water from the fire hoses freezes quickly, Grandmaison said.
Grandmaison said there were no injuries, other than a slight back injury to one firefighter.
The damage to the building is “at least” $250,000, Grandmaison said.
Looking into the building from the street the morning after the blaze, Grandmaison recounted his strategy upon arrival the night before.
“All this was raging out of control, so we could not get in, really,” Grandmaison said, pointing to the main floor of the house.
That meant the fire chief had a “defensive” strategy to battle the flames, trying to prevent the fire from spreading.
“Because of the heavy volume of fire that was found on arrival, the crew could not get in,” he said.
Now their job is to find out what caused the fire.
Grandmaison met with two members of the office of the Nunavut fire marshal on the morning of Feb. 5. The office will conduct an investigation.
“They’re going to work from the most un-burnt to the most burnt side of the home,” Grandmaison said.
“So really they have to look at signs of fire, find a probable area of origin,” he said.