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Fire ravages Baker fleet

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Nov 24/04) - A blaze that caused extensive damage to municipal vehicles in Baker Lake earlier this month may have been set intentionally, say the RCMP.

Const. Robert Strong says the fire broke out around 7 a.m. on Nov. 14.

Strong says the fire caused significant damage to 12 vehicles being housed in the six-bay garage, as well as the structure itself.

Initial estimates place damages at around $250,000.

"One garbage truck was completely destroyed and a sewage truck was severely damaged," says Strong.

"Some vehicles had a great deal of smoke and soot damage, while others had melted parts from the intense heat caused by the blaze.

"Even the wiring on the garage ceiling melted."

He said most of the big bay doors warped from the intense heat.

Strong says the only exterior signs of the blaze are underneath and on the edges of the garage doors.

He says heating units on the ceiling will have to be replaced.

"We've spoken to a number of people concerning the fire and are in the process of interviewing more.

"Bad weather prevented the fire marshal from getting into Baker until later in the week to have a look at the scene and conduct his own investigation into the matter.

"The fire is suspicious in nature and the investigation is ongoing."

Strong says the fire originated in, under or between the garbage and sewage trucks and spread from there.

He says the fire department was quick to respond to the alarm and bring the blaze under control. "The efforts of our volunteer firefighters drastically reduced the amount of damage that would have occurred had the fire burned much longer.

Hamlet kept up with services

"I shudder to think where we'd be if all the garbage and sewer trucks in town had been destroyed."

Strong says the hamlet kept up with services, despite being down two trucks.

"Initially, services were impacted because another sewage truck was also down.

"Until it was repaired, they did a four-truck job with only two vehicles, but that's back in service now, so they're only one vehicle short."