‘Fire Kills On Reserves’

This happens far too often on aboriginal Reserves (only last month, 9 deaths at Pikangikum). If they were simply Canadian municipalities rather than Constitutionally-segregated communities, these issues could be dealt with – and lives saved…:  

‘Fire destroys Eabametoong ‘First Nation’s community hall in northern Ontario’

“The member of parliament for the riding that includes the Eabametoong ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 2,199 people} in northern Ontario says a fire has destroyed the northern Ontario reserve’s community hall.

“Robert Nault says he is thankful no one was hurt in the blaze Thursday morning.

“But he says the community, also known as Fort Hope, has lost a much-needed safe space for children and adults to socialize, play sports and share important cultural teachings.

“Nault says fire officials are looking into the cause of the fire.”

‘Fire destroys Eabametoong ‘First Nation’s community hall in northern Ontario’,
The Canadian Press, April 7, 2016

http://globalnews.ca/news/2625770/fire-destroys-eabametoong-first-nations-community-hall-in-northern-ontario/ Eabametoong 'First Nation' (2016)“A study performed by the federal government in 2011, which was made public for the first time earlier this year, showed that only 56% of ‘First Nation’ sites across Canada have adequate fire protection. Because of this, fire incidence rates for ‘First Nations’ are 2.4 times higher than for the rest of Canada. ‘First Nations’ residents are also 10 times more likely to die in a house fire…

“The remote ‘First Nations’ in the region have their own fire stations and equipment, which are manned by volunteer firefighters, most of whom have received a few weeks of training.

“Attawapiskat has its own pumper fire truck and a crew of about 15 firefighters. Much of their equipment is ageing and should be replaced in the near future, said Mushkegowuk Council’s emergency services coordinator, Leonard Small. Attawapiskat also has the most house fires by far, although Small said he isn’t sure why.

“Kashechewan has both a pumper truck and a rescue truck and their dozen firefighters received training this past summer. In addition to a fire chief, the community also has a deputy fire chief. Kashechewan has some of the newest equipment because of a project launched after the deaths of two people locked in jail cells at the community’s police station in 2006.

“Fort Albany is having some problems when it comes to their fire prevention services, however. The community lost its fire hall and a great deal of equipment when the building burned down in May of last year. Fortunately, they still had its pumper truck and some basic equipment such as lengths of hose to continue fighting fires with…

“One of the biggest causes of deaths according to the government report was slow response time by firefighters, whether it was caused by needing to round up the volunteers or waiting for them to arrive from a nearby municipality.

“Unlike the volunteer firefighters in Timmins, the crews up in the Jame Bay communities do not have a proper paging system. But Small says they have found ways to improvise.

“In Attawapiskat, they have a large horn that announces there is a fire. In Kashechewan, they have a radio system. So if there’s an emergency, they call the clinic which gets a hold of the fire chief, explained Small.’’

–‘How prepared for fires are reserves in Northwestern Ontario?’
Alan S. Hale, Timmins Daily Press, April 4, 2016

http://www.timminspress.com/2016/04/04/how-prepared-for-fires-are-reserves-in-northwestern-ontario Fort Albany fire (2015)WEB“By the numbers:

_ 43: percentage of ‘First Nation’ sites in Canada with “little or no fire protection”

_ 56: percentage of ‘First Nation’ sites in Canada with “adequate” fire services

_ 49: percentage of ‘First Nations’ that depend on neighbouring municipality for fire protection

_ 10.4: death rate among ‘First Nations’ compared to the rest of Canada

_ 2.5: fire injury rate among ‘First Nations’ compared to the rest of Canada

SOURCE: ‘Indigenous Affairs’ report: “Factors Influencing Insurance Coverage in First Nations Communities,” April 2011


Ahtahkakoop ‘First Nation’, east of Prince Albert. (Richard Marjan, Saskatoon StarPhoenix)
Ahtahkakoop ‘First Nation’, east of Prince Albert. (Richard Marjan, Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

“These statistics are upsetting but not surprising”, added Lucie Lee Frappier, Senior Underwriter at ‘APRIL Canada’. “One major challenge is that reserve land in Canada is community owned and under the administration of the band council. As a result, insurers have typically arranged with a band’s housing department to cover all of a reserves homes. The homes are also often far from a fire hydrant or a fire station and could lack a Fire or Police response as they may not have jurisdiction and the insurance industry standard to rate a building’s insurability…”


St. Theresa Point ‘First Nation’. (CANADIAN PRESS)
St. Theresa Point ‘First Nation’. (CANADIAN PRESS)

“A judge examining the deaths of three children and a grandfather in house fires on remote northern Manitoba reserves says all ‘First Nations’ communities should have ‘911’ service…

“‘First Nation’ community leaders (should) take steps to ensure that proper resources are allocated towards fire protection services”, Lord wrote in her report.

“Reserves should support education training and retain certified electricians and carpenters to perform fire safety inspections and do repairs, she recommended, despite concerns raised during the inquest that such inspections would result in many homes being condemned…

“When fire broke out at two-month-old Errabella Harper’s home in St. Theresa Point in January 2011, the community’s fire truck was broken, in a garage, with no fire hoses. No one knew where the keys were.


“A second fire about two months later in God’s Lake Narrows killed Demus James and his two grandchildren…

“The inquest found the reserves were woefully unprepared to handle the fires.


“Neighbours tried to douse the flames with buckets, wet towels and a low-pressure hose…

“Chief David McDougall of St. Theresa Point said the community would welcome 911 service. But the recommendation is meaningless without funding to staff the service and ensure there are paid, trained people ready to respond, he said.

“Volunteers on the reserve are trying to look after their families, he pointed out. That means they might be hunting, fishing or working when an emergency call comes in. Very few of them would be willing to staff an emergency dispatch line overnight without being paid, he said.

“The judge’s report amounts to “beautiful rhetoric”, he added…”

–‘Fire inquest calls for 911 service for all ‘First Nations’,
Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press, Nov. 04 2015

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/11/04/inquest-calls-for-911-service-on-all-first-nations.html ERBLTwoToddlersDieInFire600x600‘Two Kids Died in a House Fire on a Reserve as Firefighters Stayed Put Over a $3,300 Unpaid Bill’ — We covered this story here:

‘Two Toddlers Die in Saskatchewan Fire’ {February 23, 2015}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/600449683390602/?type=1 St. Theresa Point ‘First Nation’, 2011. (RCMP)“Here’s a look at some fatal fires on Manitoba reserves: October 2006: Jody Pacey Karl Tssessaze, 4, dies in house fire on the Northlands ‘First Nation’. The community did not have a fire department of its own.

March 2008: Letrel Bighetty-Castel, 5, Robert Castel-Lapensee Jr., 4, and Troi Castel-Lapensee, 3, die when fire breaks out in a trailer in Pukatawagan. Residents tried to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers.

October 2008: Gerrod Head, 7, and Ethan Flett, 6, die when fire breaks out in a shed on the Opaskwayak Cree ‘Nation’. The boys could not find their way out because of smoke.

February 2009: Hope Richard, 9, dies when the house she shares with 12 other people catches fire in Sandy Bay.

May 2009: Tristan Marcus Taylor-Mousseau, 5, dies in a house fire in Sandy Bay. There were 12 people living in the house at the time.

January 2010: Edward Redhead, 11, dies in a house fire in Shamattawa. No one could find the fire chief and no one realized the boy was missing until several days later.

May 2010: Curtis Laporte, 2, dies in a house fire on the Long Plain ‘First Nation’ after he seeks shelter under his baby blanket behind a couch.

January 2011: Errabella Harper, 2 1/2 months, dies in a house fire in St. Theresa Point. The community’s fire truck was broken with no fire hoses and no one knew where the keys were.

January 2011: Daphne Benjoe, 41, dies in a house fire on the Roseau River ‘First Nation’. Firefighters were left without water to battle the blaze, because the community’s fire hydrants were frozen, not having had their annual maintenance the previous year.

March 2011: Demus James, 73, and his grandchildren Throne Kirkness, 2, and Kayleigh Okemow, 3, die in a fire in God’s Lake Narrows. The community didn’t have a fire truck and tried to battle the flames with two water trucks.

March 2013: A 14-year-old boy and a three-year-old child are orphaned after a house fire kills their parents on the Wasagamack ‘First Nation’. The reserve didn’t have a fire dispatch service because of funding cuts.”

‘13 children among fatalities in 11 ‘First Nations’ fires since 2006’:
http://globalnews.ca/news/1644452/13-children-among-fatalities-in-11-first-nations-fires-since-2006/ Peter Ballantyne Cree ‘Nation’ -- Pelican Narrows – 2014 (RCMP)‘Man dies in Long Plain ‘First Nation’ fire’:

‘Three people found dead in house fire on Siksika ‘First Nation’ east of Calgary’:

‘Three Dead in Northern Manitoba House Fire’:

‘House fire killed 2 boys on Saskatchewan ‘First Nation’ where fire truck is broken’:

And, of course:
‘Nine dead, including three children, in Pikangikum ‘First Nation’ house fire’:
http://www.680news.com/2016/03/30/nine-dead-including-three-children-pikangikum-first-nation-house-fire/ PIKANGIKUM (2016)‘First Nation’ Fire Protection Services: Frequently Asked Questions’: 
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