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

A campaign encourages families to put down their phones and talk this Mother’s Day

OpenTable’s #DiningMode gets Okanagan restaurants on board with a no phone policy while dining

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

Syrup commercially produced from Summerland maple trees

Maple Roch produces 50 bottles of syrup after trees in the community were tapped

Photos: Saddle broncs and bullriders raise the dust in Similkameen

The 54th annual Chopaka Easter Jackpot Rodeo took place near Keremeos Sunday

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Okanagan College names new fundraising director

Helen Jackman will join the college as executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement

Most Read