Ottawa

Fire kills 2 jailed men on Kashechewan reserve

The Ontario and federal governments are facing fresh accusations that they have failed the reserve of Kashechewan, after a fire at a jail that killed two prisoners and badly injured a police officer.

The Ontario and federal governments are facing fresh accusations that they have failed the reserve of Kashechewan, after a fire at a jail that killed two prisoners and badly injured a police officer.

Only two months earlier, the province ordered a mass evacuation of the reserve, which is on the shore of James Bay, after long-standing contaminated water problems became a national scandal.

Tragedy struck again on Sunday afternoon when a blaze started in the building that housed the jail and killed two young men who were locked in their cells.

An officer that tried to open the cell doors was seriously injured and has been flown to the burn unit of a Toronto hospital for treatment.

Another officer and a civilian guard were treated for smoke inhalation, the Nishnawbe-Askia police force said.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the fire or why the officer couldn't open the doors.

Jail looked like it belonged 'in Sarajevo,' MP says

But New Democrat legislator Charlie Angus, the MP for the Timmins-James Bay riding, said the jail was substandard and lacked proper doors and padlocks.

"It just was in terrible, terrible condition, holes in the walls, the cells were inadequate," he told the Canadian Press late Sunday.

"It looked more like something you see in Sarajevo than the province of Ontario."

Angus blamed the provincial and federal governments for the conditions, calling it yet another example of the lack of infrastructure on the reserve.

In late October, the Ontario government ordered the evacuation of about 1,500 Kashechewan First Nation residents after E. coli bacteria were found in its water supply.

More than 200 people were temporarily relocated to Ottawa.

Angus also played a key role in exposing the community's plight at that time.