Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit November 28, 2017 - 9:15 am

Homeless man loses shelter in Iqaluit boat fire

Man unharmed, firefighters rescue his puppy

BETH BROWN
Everton Lewis, a homeless man from Iqaluit, lost his shelter in a boat fire that broke out on the Iqaluit beach yesterday morning. Lewis was unharmed and firefighters rescued his puppy. (PHOTO BY QAUMARIAQ INUQTAQAU, SHAME ON CANADA FACEBOOK PAGE)
Everton Lewis, a homeless man from Iqaluit, lost his shelter in a boat fire that broke out on the Iqaluit beach yesterday morning. Lewis was unharmed and firefighters rescued his puppy. (PHOTO BY QAUMARIAQ INUQTAQAU, SHAME ON CANADA FACEBOOK PAGE)

A homeless Iqaluit man and his puppy are safe, after Iqaluit firefighters put out a boat fire near the beach in the city’s Lower Base neighbourhood on Monday.

The fire department received word just after 10 a.m. that a boat located near a water pumping station was on fire.

“There was about a 30-foot boat with a cabin on it that was showing flames when I arrived,” said Deputy Fire Chief Nelson Johnson. “We had the fire under control three minutes after arriving on scene.”

Iqaluit’s Everton Lewis used the boat as a dwelling. Lewis was unharmed, and spoke to Johnson when he arrived.

“He informed me that he had a puppy on the boat but nobody else was there,” Johnson said. “We started overhauling the boat to make sure that the fire was out …  and that’s when the young puppy was found.”

The boat itself is a loss, Johnson said, but there was no damage to the surrounding area.

Fifteen volunteer and full-time firefighters responded. Iqaluit’s emergency services dispatched two fire trucks and one ambulance and firefighters used 250 feet of hose to put out the fire. 

Johnson thanked all firefighters involved.

“They knocked that fire down and they should be proud that they worked together and were able to get the puppy out of there, safe and sound,” he said. 

The puppy, also named Everton, was “absolutely cute and adorable, all black, a big ball of fur,” Johnson said, though he was dripping wet from the water firefighters used to douse the fire.

The fire started just as another heavy snowfall descended on the city.

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(16) Comments:

#1. Posted by Bystander on November 28, 2017

Iqaluit is a City,,,why is there no Salvation Army Centre there for the homeless?

#2. Posted by Clue on November 28, 2017

#1, Iqaluit has a men’s shelter with a very dedicated staff. This particular gentleman does not/cannot follow the rules at the shelter, and can be dangerous and intimidating. The issue that concerns me here is untreated or undiagnosed mental illness. If people in his position were actually charged when they do something illegal or threatening, instead of being swept under the rug and ignored, they would be in the system, and hopefully forced to be diagnosed and treated. Then people like this man would have a chance at a happy, productive life. And I say this as someone who knows and cares about Everton.

#3. Posted by John Doe on November 28, 2017

Maybe the Salvation Army could use that new airport building as a shelter for the 600 homeless people in Iqaluit.

#4. Posted by Sal army is church run on November 28, 2017

@1 & 3:
Salvation Army is run by churches. You’d think one of the many churches in Iqaluit could step it up. Everyone expects the GN or the City or the Feds to do it. Tanking care of our most vulnerable is a civic duty too. If the churches aren’t doing that then I don’t know what their doing. Too much preaching.

#5. Posted by bob on November 28, 2017

This man does need help, professional mental help. Being homeless, having been involved in numerous careless fires of his dwellings, drumming into all hours of the day and night to ward off demons and open verbal threats at different people including law enforcement is not enough to get this guy committed. Only when he hurts someone or himself will it be “enough”.

#6. Posted by Everton needs new clothes on November 28, 2017

There is a mental health facility in Iqaluit; Akausiksarvik.  I hope Everton can go there.

Everton needs new winter clothes.  His clothing stank of fire and smoke.  I wish I could help him get new coat and snowpants and boots.

#7. Posted by Fact shooter on November 28, 2017

You cannot help those who are not receptive. Playing the blame game serves no useful purpose. Churches have limited resources and rely volunteers. Most of the churches in Iqaluit do not have the facilities, manpower, or skills to deal with many of the issues surrounding homelessness. If you want to help, put your money where your mouth is.

#8. Posted by Steve L on November 28, 2017

#4 Clarification:  “The Salvation Army” is a church by itself.  Also they have an extensive Emergency Disaster Service network and are one of the few Churches that is open more than Sundays.  TSA can be reached at 1-800-725-2769 and I expect they would be more than happy on assisting a community based group. And its time for the Red Kettle, if you are South, donate in person, or if still up North, on line.

#9. Posted by Chin Up on November 28, 2017

Love you, Everton.  Despite these comments, you’re a wonderful friend.  I hope you find a new place to call your own as you’re the type of person who needs his own space - that’s respectable.  Everyone everywhere, no matter how wealthy they are, need a little help every now and then - EVERYBODY!!  I hope you get yours sooner than later.  Keep your chin up!!

BTW, your bio son with a hot Inuk woman is a huge, intelligent kid!  You should be proud of him!!  smile

#10. Posted by Huh on November 28, 2017

#9, you are part of the problem. If Everton was your friend, you would encourage him to get help for his mental health. If your friend wasn’t aware that he had a huge tumour growing out his head, would you ignore it? No, a good friend would try to get him to see the gravity of his situation and get help. Unfortunately for Everton, many of his friends in town see him as some sort of character rather than a human being with potential. Untreated, Everton can be dangerous. The police have been called on him numerous times, and when they arrive, they agree that he did something wrong, but then they shrug and leave (not blaming them, just pointing out the reality of this). He is too ill to see that he is ill, and unless he is before a judge for threatening someone (for example), he will never be properly assessed and treated. This is the third fire involved involving this poor man. It stopped being a cute human interest story long ago.

#11. Posted by Inuk on November 28, 2017

Must be hard , being homeless in the north

#12. Posted by Curious on November 29, 2017

Why does this homeless man have a dog? Who gives someone something to care for who cant even take care of himself. Sorry but I’m more concerned for that poor puppy than I am for him. No one cares about the poor dogs suffering in this town.

#13. Posted by Susan Savikataaq on November 29, 2017

I too was wondering about the puppy, but happy to say it was picked up by the by-law after it was found that same early evening by a relative house sitting with a note that we couldn’t understand but can make out the word “fire”. I feel for the homeless man and personally tried finding him a place to stay but was told the poor man has issues so I only pray he will seek help and find a warm place to live.

#14. Posted by Chin Up on November 29, 2017

Love is freely given and freely taken as it has been with Everton and I.  I cannot force him to receive help even when I suggested he receives help for his anger.  I have only been there for him as a friend.

As for the cops, the judge and him - that is between them, not between Everton and I!

#15. Posted by Agree with Chin Up on November 29, 2017

I agree with Chin Up.  I have a daughter who developed a serious mental disability and violence was a symptom of that illness.  Did I stop loving her as a mother? Did I give up hope that she’d realize she had an illness and seek help? I nearly did.  But she pulled through and got mental health treatment.

For three years, I called the police, the hospitals and the psychiatric wards that became our revolving door.  Mental illness is not a cute human interest story.  If my daughter had been alone, she would have felt a lot more isolated and alienated and unable to navigate the systems. It therefore is probably a lot harder for Everton to assert his mental health needs.  That puppy is likely the only positive thing that makes him feel less alone in a heartless world.

#16. Posted by Huh on November 29, 2017

I really appreciate the hard work that the RCMP do here in Iqaluit. But if any police officers are reading this, please listen. When someone calls the police and says something like ‘Everton just threatened to stab me in the heart and light my house on fire,’ please arrest him and lay charges instead of doing nothing. It is very scary to be threatened like this, and ignoring it is keeping him from being in the system and getting help.

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