Warehouse containing material for housing catches fire in Shamattawa First Nation
Fire started around 6 p.m., chief says, crews still at work by 9:30 p.m.
Fire crews spent hours fighting a blaze at a warehouse containing building material for six housing units in a Manitoba First Nation on Sunday.
The fire started around 6 p.m. at the building in Shamattawa First Nation, about 750 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, said Chief Jeffrey Napaokesik.
"We got a call reported to us that one of our warehouses that was storing some housing material, and it quickly went up in smoke and flames right way," Napaokesik said. "Our fire crew, the fire truck responded right away."
Napaokesik said crews were still fighting the fire around 9:30 p.m.
He said it's still too early to say how the fire started or whether the materials inside can be salvaged.
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Shamattawa resident Sheri Schweder said community kids were playing on the trampoline in her yard when they spotted black smoke and let her know.
After that, they got a little closer and saw the source was the warehouse.
"Last I saw of it, it was completely engulfed, like, completely," she said.
The community has dealt with other large fires in the past year, including one in September 2016 that destroyed the First Nation's band office and only grocery store.
At the time, RCMP said a group of six children from the area were responsible for that fire, including a 12-year-old boy who was arrested in connection with the incident. The other children believed to be involved were too young to be arrested.
Schweder said the blaze has left some residents upset.
"A lot of community members are actually posting a lot of angry posts [on social media] about it," she said.
"We've been losing a lot. A lot of the anger is kind of directed toward the kids [in the community], but it's not entirely their fault."