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

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read