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10-year-old girl killed in fire in remote Indigenous northern Ontario community with no fire services

A 10-year-old girl died in a home fire in the remote northern Ontario community of Peawanuck, Ont., which doesn’t have entry to fire services or primary firefighting tools. 

Alison Linklater, grand chief of Mushkegowuk Council, stated the small community is “in a state of shock” following the fire, which occurred on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Mushkegowuk Council represents seven First Nations in Ontario’s far north. Linklater stated that Weenusk First Nation, which incorporates Peawanuck, stays unbiased, however has shut ties with the council.

“It’s very unlucky that Peawanuck is left in this example, and it ought to by no means have occurred,” Linklater stated.

After the fire, Linklater stated she was a part of a gathering with leaders from the community to search out methods to assist the household and forestall future deadly fires from occurring once more.

She stated 10 folks lived in the house. Just a few members of the family have been airlifted 400 kilometres southeast to the community of Moose Factory so that they may very well be handled for smoke inhalation.

“I’ve been in contact with, not the household straight, however with their shut relations simply to see what they want proper now,” Linklater stated.

“And we have been doing our greatest to come back collectively to help the household and the community, just like the completely different organizations.”

Alison Linklater is the grand chief of the Mushkegowuk Council, which represents seven Cree First Nations in the far north. (Submitted by Alison Linklater)

Linklater stated the community bought a fire truck a few years in the past, but it surely has remained in Winnipeg, almost 1,000 kilometres away.

Peawanuck is a fly-in community for a lot of the yr, however is accessible by land in the winter, due to ice roads.

But Linklater stated in latest years the ice hasn’t been thick sufficient to move a fire truck to the community.

She stated the First Nations she represents alongside the James Bay coast do have firefighting tools and volunteer firefighters. 

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus advised reporters on Monday that the girl’s loss of life and accidents from the fire have been unacceptable.

“How is it attainable in Canada that we’ve communities that shouldn’t have primary fire safety?” he requested.

“This reminds us, it jogs my memory deeply, of the work that must be performed.”

Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu says Indigenous Services Canada is co-ordinating with Weenusk First Nation to assist help the household affected by a fire that killed a 10-year-old girl. (CBC)

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Improving fire security

Angus stated he would meet with Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Mark Miller and Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu to come back up with a long-term plan for correct emergency services in the community.

“On Sunday, I spoke with Chief Hunter to precise my condolences and make sure that Indigenous Services Canada is out there to assist co-ordinate helps to the household and community,” Hadju stated in an e mail to CBC News.

In a separate assertion, a spokesperson for her workplace, Andrew MacKendrick, stated the “tragedy underpins the essential want for higher fire security sources, coaching, and help.”

MacKendrick stated Indigenous Services Canada is working intently with the Assembly of First Nations to maneuver ahead on the First Nations Fire Protection Strategy.

“In the approaching weeks we need to maintain a fire security gathering in order to convey companions and specialists from throughout the nation collectively, and have a look at what instruments may be applied in the brief, medium, and lengthy phrases to enhance fire security on reserve,” he stated.

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