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Some Attawapiskat evacuees return home after fire ruins trailer complex

Thursday December 19, 2013

About half of the Attawapiskat residents who were evacued are expected to be able to return home early December.

On Nov.22, a fire destroyed the homes of some residents of the community, forcing about 67 members to be evacuated.

Housing trailers that had been donated by the mining company DeBeers were serving as temporary homes for victims whose homes were affected by a sewage backup in 2009. The fire, which spread quickly through the housing trailer neighbourhood, came shortly after the Nov.18 winter snowstorm that knocked out the power to the community for almost 24 hours.

After the fire, the residents of the housing trailers were evacuated to the nearby community of Kapuskasing, where they stayed in a hotel. The Red Cross and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development provided on-site support to the evacuees at the hotel.

“They did some more studies today, and they’re optimistic that by next week, some of the people can return,” Kapuskasing mayor Al Spacek told Timmins Press. “But the other homes, damage is significant and substantial, and that may be longer term.”

Spacek said he believed the return evacuees would be able to go back to the same homes they were living in, “pending air quality testing.”

Nobody was injured during the fires, but many of the evacuees lost all of their possessions in the blaze.


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