RCMP updates public on Iqaluit and Apex fire investigations: three of four solved

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A blaze early Sunday, June 30 in the lower plateau area, or 5300 block, took out several units of a 10-plex, and saw neighbouring multiplexes evacuated.

Neighbours said they saw the residents of the unit where the fire started successfully evacuated, and the City of Iqaluit later reported one minor injury.

“In consultation with the fire marshall’s office, it is suspected this fire was accidental, caused by a burning cigarette from the garbage within an apartment. No charges are pending,” stated RCMP in a July 3 new release supplied to Nunavut News by the City of Iqaluit.

After the blaze on the lower plateau was extinguished, only about half the building remained, and sources say the entire building may now be structurally unsound. 
Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo

That was the third fire in less than 12 hours, and not the last.

Saturday night, firefighters battled flames which took three shacks on the shore of Koojesse Inlet.

Jayko Aipeelie, who has had his name on the waiting list for housing in the city for three years, according to his posting to an Iqaluit Facebook page, stated that he was mad because one of those shack served as a home in the meanwhile.

“Hard to take and or do anything about it while I’m working hard at sea making a living,” wrote Aipeelie.

“My little home on the beach may not have looked like much to most people but that was a place for me and my girlfriend to lay our heads down to sleep. We would couch surf from time to time but that’s tiring and always feel like your invading others privacy. I would also book a room at the Accommodations by the Sea when I have the money to take a break from my little home.”

RCMP stated July 3 no known cause has been determined for this fire, and it remains under suspicion of arson.

Then, in the early morning hours Sunday, before the ten-plex fire, firefighters were at the scene near the old dump in Apex to attend a cabin fire. RCMP have stated the Apex fire is related to another event Sunday morning, which saw 19-year-old Wayne Panipakoocho of Pond Inlet charged with second-degree murder after another man died from his injuries.

Panipakoocho also faces charges related to a break and enter, theft and arson.

No further information will be released on that fire at this time as it remains under investigation, stated RCMP.

Finally, Monday evening, flames destroyed two sheds in the 700 block. No injuries were reported after firefighters extinguished that blaze.

“Investigation determined an 11-year-old boy tried to make a small hole in the canvass larger so he could see inside the shed by lighting the canvass on fire. No charges are pending due to the age of the boy and parents were involved with the consultation and interview,” state RCMP.

Finally, RCMP are still trying to identify the person responsible for the Nanook School tupiq fire on May 24 in Apex, according to the news release.

“A media release went out on June 6, 2019 with video footage of the suspect wearing a grey toque, dark coloured jacket with a distinct black back pack with white lettering and trim. The release did not generate any new leads towards the identity of the person(s) responsible,” state RCMP.

Following the final fire on Monday, Mayor Madeleine Redfern advised Iqalummiut to report any suspicious activity they see to the RCMP.

She urged residents to be fire safe.

“We ask our residents to be careful with anything that is fire related, such as cigarettes or barbecues.”

The city also reminded residents that bonfires within the city limits must be at least 30 metres from any structures or combustible materials.