Fire labelled suspicious
$1 million blaze in Holman

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

HOLMAN (Oct 25/99) - The Inuvik region fire marshall's office has called the RCMP in to investigate an Oct. 16 fire here.

"The interviews we did and the evidence we found led me to believe this is a suspicious fire," said assistant fire marshall Tim Pawluk Thursday.

The fire destroyed a three-bay hamlet garage and a front-end loader, water truck and fuel truck that were in it. Pawluk estimated total damage will top $1 million.

The fire began in the early morning hours. Pawluk arrived later the same day and started sifting through the remains to determine whether electrical or mechanical problems sparked the blaze. He ruled out electrical causes.

"We turned the scene over to the RCMP," said Pawluk. "They brought in two people from Yellowknife (to investigate) last night."

Pawluk said, apart from ruling out causes, he could not discuss details of what led him to believe the fire was suspicious since the blaze is still being investigated.

The town is arranging to have a water truck flown in by Hercules aircraft said senior administrator Eleanor Young. In the mean time it is getting by with a smaller truck and an old one that, until the blaze, had not been used to transport potable water for years.

Pawluk said the Holman volunteer fire department deserves a lot of credit for containing the fire under adverse weather conditions and with acetylene tanks in the garage "going off like rockets."

"It could've wiped out a whole area of town," said Pawluk. "It's the first major fire they've had and I'm proud of the way they handled it."