The Current

Pikangikum First Nation fire prompts outrage for lack of resources

After a recent house fire that killed nine people in the First Nation community of Pikangikum, we speak to the Grand Chief of Northern Manitoba First Nations on why improvements to firefighting services and resources to fix houses are not being met.
An Ontario First Nation is in utter shock after nine members of one family were killed in a house fire. 1:54

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On March 29, 2016, the remote First Nation community of Pikangikum in northwestern Ontario suffered its own tragedy. Nine people — three of them children — perished in a house fire.

 Pikangikum is a remote community located 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay and is only accessible by air. 

"Our communities are overwhelmed with suicide at an epidemic level, a NAN-wide health crisis and several states of emergency. These fire-related fatalities are stretching their limited resources to the breaking point," said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

A three-bedroom house on Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario burned to the ground, March 29, 2016. Nine people were killed in the blaze. (Kyle Peters)

In 2014, The Current looked at a federal report that found people were 10 times more likely to die in a fire on a reserve than in a city. And in January of that year, two young boys, Solomon and Josiah Ballantyne were killed in a house fire on the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.

Sheila North Wilson is devastated and outraged by the latest fire to hit a northern first nation. She's the Grand Chief of Northern Manitoba First Nations.  

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.