RCMP say 13-year-old charged with arson in blaze that destroyed Nunavut school

Youth charged in Nunavut school fire

KUGAARUK, Nunavut — A youth has been charged in a fire that destroyed the only school in a remote Nunavut hamlet.

RCMP say a 13-year-old is accused of arson in the blaze at the Kugaaruk school on Tuesday night.

No one was hurt, but officials are trying to find classroom space for hundreds of children.

Officials have said the firefighting effort was hampered by extremely cold temperatures which reached -60 C.

Kugaaruk sits on the southeastern shore of Pelly Bay off the Gulf of Boothia and has a population of just under 1,000 people. 

Police say the youth has been released from custody on conditions and is to appear in court in Kugaaruk on April 5.

“The loss of the school has caused and will continue to cause hardship for the community as the school was used and utilized in several different roles,” police said in a news release Friday.

RCMP are asking anyone with any information on the fire to contact them.

John Ivey, senior administrative official for Kugaaruk, said earlier this week that the fire threatened the community office as well as the hamlet’s power plant and its diesel fuel supply tanks.

Ivey said the intense cold froze water lines and firefighters had to swap each other out to warm up.

The Canadian Press

Canadian Press