A scene from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A fire has destroyed portions of the largest retail store in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit.The fire broke out late Wednesday night at the Northmart store, which is the main grocery and general retailer in the community that houses a number of shops and services. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Supply of food, other goods in question after fire rips through Iqaluit store

The fire broke out late Wednesday night at the Northmart store

A fire has destroyed significant parts of the largest retail store in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit.

The fire broke out late Wednesday night at the Northmart store, which is the main grocery and general retailer in the community and houses a number of shops and services.

Mayor Madeleine Redfern said Thursday morning that the blaze started at the back of the building and had already destroyed the warehouse, a furniture store and a snowmobile shop.

“From what I’m seeing of the residents’ reactions, everyone is in shock and disbelief … very concerned,” she said. “We initially hoped the fire could be put out very quickly. Everyone is just waiting to see what the final outcome will be.”

A nearby elders care home was evacuated as a precaution and Iqaluit residents were being asked to conserve water so that emergency crews would have an adequate supply for firefighting efforts.

A school across from the store was closed for the morning.

“(Northmart) is our largest general store. Quite a number of people work there, so it’s a significant employer and a provider of products,” said Redfern.

The majority of perishable food is brought into the territorial capital of 7,700 by air year-round, while non-perishable food items and hard goods come in by sea.

Other grocery retailers in Iqaluit have indicated they will be able to provide the community with enough food for now, but Redfern noted that the long-term effects of the fire will have to be assessed.

“The issue is ensuring that the other retailers are able to bring in enough supplies on an ongoing basis,” she said. “In these situations it’s important that we work together for the common good.”

The RCMP is investigating the cause of the fire.

Winnipeg-based multinational grocery and retailer North West Co. operates seven Northmart stores. The company’s website says the businesses are targeted at larger northern markets, with an emphasis on an expanded selection of fresh foods, fashion, health products and services.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Victoria Foundation thrilled to see sun shine on B.C.’s philanthropists, builders

Province declares September ‘Community Foundations Month’

100 art pieces donated for fundraiser supporting refugee family new to Victoria

Saanich fundraiser will see every participant go home with a new piece of art

Saanich Fire celebrates 100th anniversary with party

Simulations, prizes, cake and more at No. 1 hall

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

Seniors’ care one of many causes supported by GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Tragic bus crash, Pacific FC win and Terry Fox runs

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read