A scene from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A fire has destroyed portions of the largest retail store in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit.The fire broke out late Wednesday night at the Northmart store, which is the main grocery and general retailer in the community that houses a number of shops and services. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Supply of food, other goods in question after fire rips through Iqaluit store

The fire broke out late Wednesday night at the Northmart store

A fire has destroyed significant parts of the largest retail store in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit.

The fire broke out late Wednesday night at the Northmart store, which is the main grocery and general retailer in the community and houses a number of shops and services.

Mayor Madeleine Redfern said Thursday morning that the blaze started at the back of the building and had already destroyed the warehouse, a furniture store and a snowmobile shop.

“From what I’m seeing of the residents’ reactions, everyone is in shock and disbelief … very concerned,” she said. “We initially hoped the fire could be put out very quickly. Everyone is just waiting to see what the final outcome will be.”

A nearby elders care home was evacuated as a precaution and Iqaluit residents were being asked to conserve water so that emergency crews would have an adequate supply for firefighting efforts.

A school across from the store was closed for the morning.

“(Northmart) is our largest general store. Quite a number of people work there, so it’s a significant employer and a provider of products,” said Redfern.

The majority of perishable food is brought into the territorial capital of 7,700 by air year-round, while non-perishable food items and hard goods come in by sea.

Other grocery retailers in Iqaluit have indicated they will be able to provide the community with enough food for now, but Redfern noted that the long-term effects of the fire will have to be assessed.

“The issue is ensuring that the other retailers are able to bring in enough supplies on an ongoing basis,” she said. “In these situations it’s important that we work together for the common good.”

The RCMP is investigating the cause of the fire.

Winnipeg-based multinational grocery and retailer North West Co. operates seven Northmart stores. The company’s website says the businesses are targeted at larger northern markets, with an emphasis on an expanded selection of fresh foods, fashion, health products and services.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hub International to close Bella Coola office March 28

Company says staff shortages to blame

Dry weather leads to historic low water levels in local rivers

The prolonged cold, coupled with the lack of precipitation, has contributed to the situation

Bella Coola businesses still eligible for Wildfire Business Transition Training Program

Small businesses are eligible to apply for reimbursement of training expenses up to $10,000

Bill passes to make Sept. 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation statutory holiday

Residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad and CRD Area F director Joan Sorley were in Ottawa for the vote

Wally Webber elected to fourth term as Nuxalk Chief Councilor

Webber took the win with 174 votes out of a total of 389

VIDEO: RCMP reveal five kids hit in deadly B.C. crash

The children range in age from six to 17.

Study: Why Canadian police should have a dedicated animal cruelty unit

People view fighting animal cruelty as a public responsibility

Convicted pedophile from B.C. raises fears after move to Ontario

Police have issued a warning about Madilyn Harks in Brampton

Mystery plane wakes up B.C. residents

An aircraft circled Langley City over the weekend after midnight for about an hour

Yellow snake spotted slithering in Greater Victoria neighbourhood

Police describe it as ‘large, pale [and] yellow’ suggesting the snake may be exotic

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

UPDATED: IHIT investigating fatal crash in Surrey

Three people dead, investigators expected to be at scene ‘for significant amount of time’

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read