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Fire strikes fourplex in Rankin
Two people injured, firefighters do excellent job in containing blaze to one unit

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A supreme effort by volunteer members of the Rankin Inlet Fire Brigade minimized the damage that could have been done when a blaze broke out in a fourplex in Rankin this past Friday, Jan. 31.

NNSL photo/graphic

Volunteer firefighter george Aksaduak dons his breathing apparatus to battle the flames during a housing unit fire in Rankin Inlet Jan. 31, 2014. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

The firefighters were on the scene for more than two hours extinguishing the blaze in the public housing unit located at 222-61 in Rankin's Area Six.

Two people inside the dwelling at the time of the fire were treated for smoke inhalation, with one being serious enough to require being medevaced to Winnipeg for further treatment.

Early estimates place the damages from the blaze at about $300,000.

Assistant fire Marshal Al Smith of Rankin Inlet said the damage could have been much, much worse.

He said the Rankin firefighters did an incredible job in confining the flames to one unit.

"I advised the neighbouring family to stay out until everything had a chance to ventilate in their unit, but, from what I've been told, the family in the adjoining apartment actually moved back in on the following day (Saturday, Feb. 1)," said Smith.

"I went and took at a look at it, and there was no severe smoke damage to the neighbouring unit.

"There was enough to set off the smoke detectors, but that's about it.

"It was, simply, a hell of a job by our local firefighters in containing a hot and dirty fire."

Smith said, as of press time, the fire was still under investigation and the official cause of the blaze had yet to be determined.

He said all structural fires, but especially ones as initially intense as the Rankin blaze, present a host of dangers to responding firefighters.

"The unknowns that could be in the house can be especially perilous in the North.

"Up here, people tend to store things like their gasoline cans and their propane cylinders inside.

"It scares the hell out of me when we respond to a structural fire here, especially this time of year, because you never know what's in their porches, or what they may have in their houses or in the crawlspace.

"If a firefighter happens to be inside when a propane cylinder lets go, their life could be short."

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