Officials are investigating after two homes were destroyed and other buildings were damaged in an early morning fire in Inuvik, N.W.T., early Saturday.
Just after 3 a.m. the town's fire department responded to multiple calls of a structure fire on Wolverine Road, Inuvik's Fire Chief Cynthia Hammond said in a news release Sunday afternoon.
When they arrived, firefighters found a home fully engulfed in flames, while the fire was threatening homes on either side and damaging them.
"It was confirmed that the occupants of the original residence had escaped and sought medical attention for burns and smoke inhalation," Hammond said in the release.
At the height of the fire, Inuvik Fire had six vehicles and 14 people on scene.
RCMP evacuated residents in the immediate area while firefighters worked to slow the speed of the fire's growth. Northwest Territories Power Corporation was also there addressing electrical hazards while Inuvik Gas controlled the release of gas.
Cable lines melting and a transformer exposed to the fire led to the loss of power and telecommunications services in the area.
By 5:34 a.m. the fire was declared under control, leaving two homes destroyed. Two other structures were damaged, one on its wall and the other to its roof, according to the release.
"Firefighters and partner agencies remained on scene for an additional eight hours, conducting overhaul, extinguishing smoldering fires, and restoring utilities to the area," said Hammond.
Residents were told they could return once the immediate danger was dealt with.
Many different agencies assisted on Saturday, including RCMP, Public Works and Advanced Medical Solutions and local police. Community members also came to the scene with food and drinks throughout the day.
Inuvik Victim Services is supporting those affected by this fire, said Hammond.
Meanwhile multiple people began community fundraising and donations that same day, one of them reaching over $20,000 in the first day alone to support one of the families who lost their home and belongings.
On Saturday, Inuvik's Mayor Natasha Kulikowski shared her condolences to the families affected on her social media.
She shared different ways that people could donate to support the families affected by the fire. On Sunday afternoon, she shared her "deep hearted thanks" to the front line workers.
Hammond said the fire department hasn't determined the cause of the fire and will continue to investigate and conduct interviews with witnesses.
"Inuvik Fire stands by the entire community in expressing heartfelt compassion to the families affected by this devastating event."