Igloolik leaders work to keep food on shelves after Co-op burns

·2 min read

Igloolik’s mayor is calling a fire that badly damaged one of the hamlet’s two grocery stores early Wednesday morning “devastating” to the community.

“Every time the fire alarm goes on in the community, it’s always a time I reflect and hope that something like this doesn’t happen,” said Merlyn Recinos in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

“We can recover, but it’s a shock to the system,” he said.

Up until now, Igloolik’s nearly 1,700 residents have had two main options for buying food – the Co-op and the Northern store. A photo taken early this morning shows the Co-op engulfed in flame.

Recinos said early in the day he set up a meeting with the Northern Store to discuss bolstering its orders to fit the needs of the community.

Ian Wray, store manager at Northern, said his store will be freezing prices, increasing orders to meet demand, receiving freight priority from its airline, and sending out flyers with reduced prices on items.

On top of that, Wray said his store has been donating food and drink to first-responders.

“We are really just here to help the community in any way we can,” he said.

RCMP said they received reports of the fire around 4 a.m.

It was still burning at 9:45 a.m., when Nunatsiaq News spoke with police.

There have been no reported deaths or injuries, and police say it’s too early to determine the fire’s cause.

Arctic Co-operatives Ltd., the North West Company and the municipality have begun making plans to secure enough food and resources for Igloolik.

Duane Wilson, vice-president of stakeholder relations with Arctic Co-operatives Ltd., said the company is considering over-stocking its Co-op convenience store in the hamlet with products typically stocked at the grocery.

He also predicts fuel delivery will not be impacted.

Wilson praised people in the community for their teamwork.

“This will be a chance to demonstrate that we are stronger together,” he said.

Mayor Recinos thanked police, firefighters and other public services for their work.

“They are so essential to our community,” he said.

David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News