The quick action of the community’s firefighters prevented what could have been a major blaze in Rankin Inlet on Dec. 6.

The charred remains of a bedroom set to flames by a three-year-old that could have been far more devastating in Rankin Inlet on Dec. 6, 2018.
Photo courtesy Mark Wyatt

Rankin Fire Chief Mark Wyatt said the call came in at 8:45 p.m. that a fire had started in the middle unit of a four-plex in Rankin’s Area Five.

He said the caller was fairly panicked and said the place was on fire, burning quickly, come right away.

“The fire was started by a three-year-old kid playing with a lighter on a bed in the back bedroom,” said Wyatt.

“There was heavy smoke coming out of the back and windows had broken when we arrived on scene,” he said. “The guys went inside, but it took them a while to find the fire because there was a lot of smoke in the unit and the fire was in the back.”

“We managed to keep the fire confined to that one suite and got it all put out with no damage to any of the other units.”

Wyatt said the burned unit is definitely salvageable, but some of the drywall will have to be torn out and the whole unit will have to be repainted.

He said 13 members of the fire department, including himself, responded to the call.

“I was first to arrive on-scene at 8:48 p.m. and by the time we were back at the fire hall and cleared up, it was about 11:30 p.m.,” he said.

Wyatt said he worries that confusion over the proper address of a building on fire might cost someone their life.

He said often people will call in and give them the housing number, but the housing numbers make absolutely no sense in the community in terms of where things are located.

“The caller will know their house number, but they won’t know the address, and a caller not being able to quickly tell us where the fire is located could be the difference between life and death.

“That’s especially true for a fire in a four-plex because it doesn’t take too long for it to start burning through to the next units, so, instead of having interior damage to one unit we end up losing the whole building and that’s not something I want to see.

“It happened once here in our community, and I don’t want to see it happen again.”

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