Dozens displaced in possibly fatal Iqaluit fire

Fire fighters battle a blaze that destroyed a townhouse row and killed two people in Iqaluit, Nunavut Sunday Feb 26, 2012.

Credits: Jim Bell via Nunatsiaq

Dozens have lost their homes and at least two people may be dead after a fire at a rowhouse complex in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Sunday night.

The fire started Sunday night at a 22-unit block at the city's Creekside Village housing development, home largely to Nunavut Arctic College students and their families.

Among those whose homes were destroyed are 53 children between the ages of five months and 18 years, local newspaper the Nunatsiaq News reported.

The first fire alarms roused residents from their homes at about 10 p.m., the newspaper reported.

Police and firefighters remained on scene through the night and into Monday morning as the fire continued to smoulder, and asked residents to gather at a nearby hotel lobby for further updates.

During the night, firefighters battled the blaze as temperatures dipped to -50 C with the windchill.

The blaze has rattled those in the remote community of Iqaluit, which is mobilizing to collect provisions, such as clothing, bedding, baby formula and diapers, for those affected.

"I get all out of sorts & heavy hearted when we have a house fire in our city," Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern posted late Sunday night on her personal Twitter account.

The city is working with Red Cross, First Air, Nunavut Arctic College, the food bank and retailers to co-ordinate and accept donations, including cash.

Late Monday morning, police would not confirm whether there had been any fatalities in the blaze, but Nunavut's coroner told the Nunatsiaq News that there were "possible deaths" related to the fire.

CBC North and APTN have reported that the coroner's office confirmed two deaths in the fire, but coroner Padma Suramala told the Nunatsiaq News she could not confirm any deaths.

A call to the coroner's office Monday afternoon was not immediately returned.

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