Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit May 17, 2016 - 4:10 pm

Police lay attempted murder charges in Nunavut shack fire

Passerby pulls man from burning shack before firefighters arrive

THOMAS ROHNER
What remains of a burned out shack from a May 13 fire on Iqaluit's beach. A man who was pulled from the shack is recovering from his injuries. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)
What remains of a burned out shack from a May 13 fire on Iqaluit's beach. A man who was pulled from the shack is recovering from his injuries. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)

(Updated, 4 p.m.)

Iqaluit RCMP have charged two people in connection with a shack fire on Iqaluit’s beach May 13.

In a May 17 news release, police said Qilluya Lucassie, 23, has been charged with attempt to commit murder and arson with disregard for human life.

Peter Sharky, 30, has been charged with assault, mischief and escape from custody, the release said.

Both are expected to appear May 18 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

Iqaluit’s fire department received a call about the fire around 8 p.m. May 13, Iqaluit Fire Chief Luc Grandmaison said May 17.

Grandmaison said that a 49-year-old man who had been inside the shack at the time was pulled from the burning structure by a passerby.

When police arrived, he was suffering from “severe burns,” the RCMP release said.

The man was transported to the Qikiqtani General Hospital and later medevaced to Montreal for further treatment.

“It was basically a shack, a sealift box that was on fire, which was threatening an adjoining shack,” Grandmaison said.

The fire chief said at the time that he could not provide any more details, such as whether there was more than one person in the shack at the time of the fire or the extent of injuries suffered by the one victim.

Grandmaison said firefighters were able to put the fire out in just a few minutes using one hose, preventing the fire from spreading to the neighbouring shack.

Many of the shacks that line Iqaluit’s beach are used as shelters by homeless people.

Small stoves are often used in the shacks for heating and cooking throughout the winter.

Every year, especially in winter, fires occur in shacks “on a regular basis,” the fire chief said.

That means about five to 10 shack fires a year, he said.

But there have been “very few” shack fires so far this year, said Grandmaison.

One man died in a shack fire in 2014, however.

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