Investigation heats up

NNSL (Aug 29/97) - RCMP say a fire that caused an estimated $800,000 damage to Les's Second Hand Swap Shop and Quality Furniture on Tuesday morning was more than suspicious.

"It was deliberately set," Staff Sgt. Dave Grundy said, yesterday morning.

However, RCMP are still "working up" just how the fire was set and who did it.

Rumors ran rampant Tuesday and Wednesday following the 3:30 a.m. blaze that kept firefighters busy at the Franklin Avenue location for more than four hours.

The fire was called in by Country Corner staff alerted to the blaze by youth on the street. They heard a faint alarm coming from the building -- a security alarm -- and then saw flames.

Yellowknifer was told by a number of telephone callers that several break-ins occurred at the same time as the fire. This fuelled speculation that the Rocher family's store was torched to keep police busy while thieves did their handywork elsewhere.

Grundy, however, said only one break and enter was reported that morning. An empty safe was taken from Bartle and Gibson Co. Ltd., a Yellowknife plumbing company.