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Controversial smoke shop uses profits to buy community fire truck
Revenue raised by a First Nations smoke shop has been put towards fighting fires. The Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop, near Pipestone in southwest Manitoba, has been raided three times by the province for selling illegal cigarettes.
The shop purchased a used fire truck for $5,000 for the Dakota Plains First Nation near Portage La Prairie. They did so, they say, because the community can't secure government funding for the truck.
Dakota Plains didn't have a fire truck and the nearest one was nearly 10 kilometers away on another reserve. Last month, a brand new home on the First Nation burned to the ground.
No one was hurt in the fire, but Chief Orville Smoke hopes the truck will help prevent future tragedies from happening.
"With a unit on the reserve… I think we have a better chance of stopping the fire and keeping people from getting hurt," Orville said.
The community is planning on training 10 people to operate the fire truck.
The smoke shop that provided the funding for the truck has been raided by the province and five people are facing tax-related charges for selling contraband cigarettes. A group of Dakota First Nations leaders opened the shop in November, selling untaxed cigarettes. First Nation officials said they wanted to get the federal government's attention on outstanding treaty issues.