Sanikiluaq residents are rallying to support a local family who lost their home in a fire.

The incident, which has been ruled accidental, occurred on the morning of Oct. 3. All seven residents escaped the blaze, including the Elder who owned the home, but the damage was catastrophic enough that the dwelling needed to be permanently vacated.

“The house was basically completely destroyed and now we have seven people living with their relatives,” said Ron Ladd, Sanikiluaq’s senior administrative officer. “They’re sharing homes with other family members, which were overcrowded to begin with.”

“The family lost everything,” he added.

Citizens of Saniqiluaq, which is perched on an island in Hudson Bay and is home to fewer than 1,000 people, were quick to spread news of the fire on Facebook, encouraging anyone in a position to help the family to do so.

Support was no less apparent on the ground.

The fire occurred just before the Thanksgiving long weekend, during which time the municipality donated food hampers to every household in the community.

Rather than keep the hampers for their own Thanksgiving gatherings, several families donated their hampers to the people who had been forced out of their home by the fire.

“We were lucky to give a $300 food hamper to every house for Thanksgiving,” Ladd said. “People took their food hampers and they donated their food hampers to the family of seven. That meant them not having a food hamper for their own household, but they knew this family was large and they said, ‘No, we don’t want our hampers.’

“That’s how sharing the community is.”

The hamlet council also pitched in, earmarking $5,000 to support the people who lost their home in the fire.

Relative to the scale of the loss, Ladd noted, that’s “not a lot of money, because the family basically doesn’t have anything.”

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