North

Polaris Apartments fire considered suspicious by RCMP

RCMP and the N.W.T. Fire Marshal are investigating the blaze that began around 1 a.m. in one of the top-floor units of the building on 52 Avenue at 49 Street.

One woman sent to hospital, three RCMP officers treated for smoke inhalation

Yellowknife firefighters direct a hose at a fire on the top floor of the Polaris Apartments building on Sunday, June 14. The blaze began around 1 a.m. in one of the top-floor units of the building on 52 Avenue at 49 Street. (submitted by Matthew Yap)

A fire that consumed the top floor of the Polaris Apartments building in Yellowknife on Sunday is being treated as suspicious.

RCMP and the N.W.T. Fire Marshal are investigating the blaze that began around 1 a.m. in one of the top-floor units of the building on 52 Avenue at 49 Street.

RCMP were able to evacuate the building except for one top-floor unit, which they couldn't get to due to flames and smoke.

Yellowknife firefighters rescued an unconscious woman from that unit. She was taken to Stanton Territorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Three RCMP officers were also treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters called in heavy equipment to remove the roof of the Polaris Apartments building June 14. (Hilary Bird/CBC )

The Crestview Apartments building next door was also evacuated due to heavy smoke.

The city says the fire made its way into the ceiling space of the third floor and the roof began to fail while firefighters were still inside.

Firefighters evacuated the building and continued fighting the fire from the outside. Heavy equipment was called to pull apart the unstable third floor so firefighters could get at the flames that were protected by the roof.

Thirty firefighters worked for 18 hours to put out the blaze.

Northern Property, the owner of the building, put up tenants in hotel rooms around the city. They met with Northern Property on Monday to learn about when they will be set up in other apartment units.

Donations of clothing and personal items are being collected at Norseman Apartments while furniture and household items such as sheets and towels are being collected at the YWCA's Rockhill Apartments.

Engineers will test the stability of the building to determine whether or not tenants on the lower floors will be able to get back in to gather belongings or if the building will have to be demolished.

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