PIKANGIKUM First Nation – News – A devastating house fire occurred on Tuesday in Pikangikum First Nation, located over 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The fire tragically claimed the life of one adult, while 11 others, including children, were safely evacuated.
The fire was reported to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) around 7:30 a.m. on the morning of July 4, 2023. The OPP were on the scene within minutes, using extinguishers from the exterior to buy time for the fire response team.
Pikangikum Peacekeepers and firefighters arrived shortly after and managed to contain the fire within 30 minutes, with the structure remaining fully intact. Thanks to the swift and coordinated response between the OPP and Pikangikum Peacekeepers, the fire was fully extinguished by 9:30 a.m.
“This is another tragedy,” said Chief Shirley Lynne Keeper. “The fast-action response from all of those involved saved many lives, but sadly, we have lost another community member. This continues to affect us greatly, impacting every one of us. We appreciate the support of IFNA who has arrived in the community and been working with government agencies to pursue sustainable funding for our community responders and to ensure supports are in place so we can prevent experiencing such loss.”
Ongoing Efforts for Fire Safety
Nick Rhone, IFNA Integrated Emergency Services Director & Regional Fire Rescue Chief, added, “Since the last fatal house fire, we have continued to work in partnership with the community, Indigenous Services Canada, the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal, the Indigenous Fire Marshal Service, and the OPP to improve fire safety and response, including ongoing smoke alarm installations.”
Investigation and Condolences
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available. The community asks for respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and the community of Pikangikum First Nation during this tragic time.