Fire in Muskat Dam Demonstrates Dangers to Remote First Nations

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Fire Destroys Home in Muskrat Dam - Image Facebook
Fire Destroys Home in Muskrat Dam - Image Facebook

Fire in Muskrat Dam Sends Two to Winnipeg Hospital

MUSKRAT DAM – An early morning house fire yesterday in Muskrat Dam First Nation has resulted in two burn victims being transported to Winnipeg’s burn unit with first and second-degree burns to their hands, arms chests and backs. The husband and wife were the lone occupants of the two-story dwelling at the time and were able to escape the fire on their own and notify a neighbour. The home was in close proximity to other homes which were part of a CMHC complex with at least two of the other homes sustaining some smoke damage.

Further complications to the response included a community-wide power outage and bad weather keeping an air ambulance from landing and transporting the patients to the hospital. Internet communications were also down in the nursing Station making it difficult for doctors to assess the patients via telemedicine.

There is no information regarding the cause of the fire at this time, but smoke alarms were installed in the home, though it is unclear as to their functionality and if they alerted the occupants to the situation or not.

The incident again brings to light the unique challenges faced by especially remote First Nation communities in terms of fire, home safety, emergency response capability and access to medical help. The community is part of the independent First Nation Alliance, a Tribal Council which experienced a fire in one of its other communities last year where a family of five was tragically lost.

According to Roy Fiddler, “The patients are currently stable and, after a slight delay due to weather, were evacuated via air transport to Winnipeg, the closest access the community has to a burn unit. We are also communicating with family both on and off-reserve and have arranged to have mental health workers support the family and other community members affected by the fire.”

The community will provide further updates as they become available.