A fire badly damaged the Iglulik Co-op retail store overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday but there’s been no reports of injuries or fatalties, according to Arctic Cooperatives.
The fire was still burning on Wednesday morning when Arctic Cooperatives issued a news release to detail the incident, which resulted in calls to the RCMP and fire department at approximately 3:45 a.m.
The hamlet consequently declared a state of emergency.
“Please don’t panic, we are not going to be running out of food,” Mayor Merlyn Recinos stated on social media, noting that the Northern store is arranging to bring in extra groceries and the community’s convenience store may be modified to supply additional needs.
Equipment is coming to ensure that fuel disruptions would be minimal as well, Recinos noted.
Other assistance en route included an Iqaluit fire crew to aid in the battle against the Co-op blaze; a charter flight for Qulliq Energy Corporation personnel to restore power to affected households and a crew from the Department of Community and Government Services.
Soup and sandwiches is being served at the community hall, which is also acting as an emergency shelter, Recinos stated. There will be a station for residents to get checked for smoke inhalation as well.
He added that funding for people who need help obtaining food is also under consideration.
Arctic Cooperatives has assembled a small emergency response team of its own to support the urgent needs of the local Co-op.
“Our primary focus is ensuring the continuity of essential services such as fuel delivery and the ability to resume a degree of retail and financial services for the community,” wrote Duane Wilson, vice-president of stakeholder relations for Arctic Cooperatives. “If you have any urgent needs with regards to Iglulik Co-op, you can reach out to me personally for any questions via email or phone at 204-470-9357. Thanks to all for your understanding as we demonstrate that we are all stronger together.”
The cause of the fire was undetermined as of Wednesday afternoon.
“The investigation is still in its early stages and has not been deemed suspicious at this time,” Nunavut RCMP stated.