June 21st, 2024

One dead, two still unaccounted for after house fire in Pikangikum First Nation

By The Canadian Press on February 25, 2023.

A remote First Nation in northwestern Ontario says one person is dead and two others are unaccounted for after a house fire erupted in the community earlier this week.

The chief of Pikangikum First Nation, which is located 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, issued a statement saying the community is devastated after a home was found engulfed in flames Wednesday evening.

Chief Shirley Lynne Keeper said fire trucks that could have helped douse the flames earlier were frozen, as the community does not have an adequate building to shelter them.

A spokesperson for the First Nation says Pikangikum Peacekeepers and Ontario Provincial Police are still holding the scene as they look for the two missing people and work to contain the fire, which has flared up a few times since Wednesday.

Keeper says the First Nation’s ability to fight structural fires has not changed since a 2016 blaze killed a family of nine, including an infant.

She says Pikangikum’s residents are feeling hopeless and is calling on the government to provide proper fire services to the community of 4,000 people.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2023

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