Pikangikum Fire Tragedy Draws Attention to Shortfalls

Blanket of Hope
Blanket of Hope

THUNDER BAY – Condolences are coming in following the tragic fire in Pikangikum First Nation that happened on Tuesday.

Kenora Member of Parliament Bob Nault stated, “I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and friends who lost loved ones in last night’s fire in Pikangikum. It’s always difficult for us to hear when something like this happens in communities within our riding.

“I hope that the families, friends, and community find comfort as we all come together to support each other during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this event.

“We will be there to support the community in any way we can.”

Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said, “We are shocked by this tragedy and our prayers are with the victims, their families and the entire community as they struggle to come to grips with this devastating loss,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “The community is still in shock, but we have assured Chief and Council that we will do everything possible to ensure that all required services and supports are made available.”

Ontario Provincial Police officials and the Office of the Fire Marshall are investigating the cause of a residential fire on Tuesday evening at approximately 11:45 p.m. OPP have confirmed multiple fatalities, with several people still unaccounted for.

In a media statement NAN says, “The chronic lack of firefighting services and substandard housing in NAN First Nations is a deadly combination that has claimed far too many lives. There are no firefighting services in Pikangikum and 95 per cent of homes do not even have running water”.

“Our communities are overwhelmed with suicide at an epidemic level, a NAN-wide health crisis and several states of emergency. These fire-related fatalities are stretching their limited resources to the breaking point,” continued Grand Chief Fiddler. “People are dying from overcrowding, unsafe building standards and a lack of basic firefighting equipment, and more lives are at risk. Such tragedies are avoidable, and it is critical that our communities are resourced appropriately to address their needs to ensure their health and safety.”

Kenora-Rainy River NDP MPP, Sarah Campbell, issued the following statement in response to a fire in the Pikangikum First Nation that claimed the lives of nine people.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family of the victims of this tragedy in the Pikangikum community.

I want to offer my support to the community during this difficult time to ensure families in Pikangikum have what they need during their time of mourning.

Our thoughts are with the family, friends, and community for this overwhelming loss.”