Police deem fire at Iqaluit jail suspicious

Police say the cause of a fire which broke out at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit Monday night is suspicious.

Police, fire and ambulance crews responded to the fire around 10 p.m. No smoke or flames were visible from outside the jail.

About 20 inmates were kept outside in a fenced recreation area. Some prisoners were moved to RCMP cells.

Shortly after 11 p.m. corrections officials said the fire had been extinguished.

No one was hurt and there was minimal damage. Police are not yet sure what started the fire.

"For now the RCMP is assisting with the investigation until the cause has been in fact determined," said Iqaluit RCMP Cpl. Yvonne Niego.

Niego said most inmates have now returned to the BCC but some remain in RCMP cells.

The fire is raising safety concerns because it’s the second fire at the over-crowded jail in little more than a year. Last October an inmate set fire to a washroom.

For years, the jail has been plagued with overcrowding. The building is also old.

The territorial government doesn’t have enough money to build a new jail, but the Department of Justice is planning to build a temporary one nearby. That could cost taxpayers up to $15 million.

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