Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 19, 2012 - 8:39 am

Twelve-hour blaze devastates respected Baker Lake business

Fire at Baker Lake Contracting and Supplies Ltd. perhaps worst in community's history

DAVID MURPHY
Flames billow high above Baker Lake on the even of July 17 in what may have been the worst fire ever seen in the community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LANA FRANKO)
Flames billow high above Baker Lake on the even of July 17 in what may have been the worst fire ever seen in the community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LANA FRANKO)

Thick black smoke billowed high above Baker Lake July 17 when a local contracting business became the victim of the community’s “worst fire in history” Baker Lake fire chief Alex Iqqaat said.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people as my time as fire chief or firefighter, and they never said anything about a fire being this big,” he said.

At 5:45 p.m. firefighters responded to a fire at Baker Lake Contracting and Supplies Ltd., where they saw flames coming through the west end of the long building. 

“We tried to fight it with a direct fight, but we had to retreat, as there was no way we were going to be able to save that building,” Iqqaat said.

There were no fatalities or injuries during the blaze, but Iqqaat said there was one close call.

“We knew there was going to be some explosions involved. At the right time, we moved away from the building,” he said.

Thirty seconds later, heating fuel exploded, setting fire to cars surrounding the property.

“We always had the fire contained, but when we moved to another section, the building collapsed. That made it hard for us to contain the flames,” Iqqaat said.

It took 15 firefighters, including help from the Meadowbank mine’s emergency response team, more than 12 hours to put out the flames.

Firefighters left at around 6 a.m., July 18.

The fire completely destroyed the building, which hosts a major part of a business that had been owned and operated for 25 years in Baker Lake by Al and Joyce Lahure.

Iqqaat has served as fire chief for four years, and as a firefighter in Baker Lake for 10 years. He said he’s never seen anything like this before.

Investigators have arrived to find out what started the fire.

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