Fire destroys Churchill Airport warehouse

Northern Manitoba MP asks if Transport Canada-owned warehouse and equipment it contained will be replaced

A Jan. 22 fire at the Churchill Airport destroyed a 25,000-square-foot warehouse, the chief of the port town’s volunteer fire department told the CBC.

The fire was spotted around 8 a.m. and seven firefighters responded to the initial call. Seven more came later, but with only two pumper trucks with a capacity of 1,000 gallons of water apiece  and no fire hydrants at the air field, putting out the blaze was not possible.

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Chief E.J. MacCuaig, told CBC that the fire took about four hours to burn out and that the roof of the building collapsed and nothing inside was salvageable.

The cause of the fire is unknown but MacCuaig theorized that it started in one fo the warehouse walls and may have been the result of an electrical malfunction.

RCMP said Jan. 23 that the cause of the fire does not appear to be suspicious and that RCMP and the Office of the Fire Commissioner continue to investigate.

Churchill-Keewatinook Aski NDP MP Niki Ashton, whose riding includes the Northern Manitoba town on the shores of Hudson Bay, wrote to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau Jan. 23 asking if the warehouse, which she said is owned by Transport Canada but leased to Calm Air, would be replaced.

“This facility and the assets it contained were of the utmost importance for Churchill and our northern region,”Ashton wrote. “We understand critical equipment has been destroyed and essential cargo space is now gone. The hangar must be rebuilt and the equipment replaced as soon as possible. Minister Garneau, will you commit to the community that the hangar will be rebuilt and that the destroyed assets will be replaced as soon as possible?”

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