KI Fire Investigation Underway

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake) - Photo by James Murray
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake) - Photo by James Murray

KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG (K.I.) FIRST NATION – On Thursday, May 2, 2019, at approximately 5:00 am, members of the K.I. Police Service responded to a report of a fire at a local residence on Macheetao Road in the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation.

The fire has resulted in five deaths. A single mother with four children were killed in the blaze.

The community does not have a fire truck. Chief Donny Morris says that KI does not have either a working fire truck or a fire hall.

Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan in a statement says, “My heart is with the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug today as friends and family grieve the tragic loss of five in a house fire. Indigenous Services officials are working with partners to provide assistance to the community as needed.”

What do First Nation Communities Need?

Many First Nation communities do not have fire trucks, and some, if they do, may not have the vehicle in working order or the needed persons in the community trained to use the vehicle.

In 2018, the City of Hamilton donated two pumper unit fire trucks to First Nation reserves in Treaty 3 territory.

Nigigoonsiminikaaning-tanker1 donated by Hamilton Fire Department
Nigigoonsiminikaaning-tanker1 donated by Hamilton Fire Department

This is an area where solutions could start for First Nation communities. However, just the donation of a fire truck will not solve the problems. There would need to be a fire hall or other building where a pumper unit could be sheltered and heated. Additionally, there needs to be training for people in the communities.

The creation of community safety centres would perhaps offer a solution. They could be places where the fire truck(s) and other safety equipment could be stored. It could also serve as a community base for Canadian Rangers in First Nation communities.

A Go Fund Me Page has been set up for Donations for the community: https://www.gofundme.com/tragic-fire-in-ki

There is currently an inquest underway headed by Dirk Huyer who is also headed to KI to investigate this latest fire.

The investigation is currently being conducted by members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) North West Regional Crime Unit and OPP Forensic Identification Services (FIS) under the direction of Detective Inspector Pete Liptrott of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). Members from the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management (OFMEM), Ontario Forensic Pathology Services – Forensic Anthropology and the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario are also engaged and working in cooperation with the OPP.

Any person with information regarding this investigation should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or access their website at: http://www.p3tips.com/273 where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.