State of emergency declared after fire destroys remote community’s only grocery store
Published Sunday, April 2, 2017 12:13PM CST Last Updated Monday, April 3, 2017 6:02PM CST
A state of emergency has been declared following a fire that destroyed the only grocery store in a remote northern Manitoba community. The fire that smoldered for more than 12 hours is being investigated as arson.
The Northern Store in Brochet, Man. burned down early Sunday morning.
A witness told CTV News the fire started around 4 a.m. Volunteer firefighters tried to save the building, but it was completely gutted.
RCMP said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it looks "suspicious."
(Photo: Chris Merasty)
A community member told CTV News the fire knocked out electricity to homes when it burned the power lines.
The fly-in community of about 600 people is about a five-hour drive away by winter road from the nearest grocery store in Lynn Lake, the witness said.
No one was injured. The Office of the Fire Commissioner is helping with the investigation.
Chief John Clarke of Barren Lands First Nation and his council are working with officials from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Indigenous and Municipal Affairs Manitoba, Red Cross, the mayor and council of Brochet, Manitoba Hydro, Northwest Company, and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak to address immediate concerns.
Essential supplies are expected to be delivered to the community by Red Cross as early as Monday.
In a release, MKO Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson said, "The fire is another reminder about how vulnerable many of our northern First Nations are and how we need to do more to keep our communities safe."
(Photo: Belinda Laponsee Cook)