'It's surreal to have nothing': Fire in Fort Simpson destroys home

·2 min read
'It's surreal to have nothing — just personal items,' said Martha Norwegian, who lost her Fort Simpson home to a fire while she was visiting Yellowknife.  (Submitted by Sean Whelly - image credit)
'It's surreal to have nothing — just personal items,' said Martha Norwegian, who lost her Fort Simpson home to a fire while she was visiting Yellowknife. (Submitted by Sean Whelly - image credit)

At seven o'clock on Tuesday morning Laurie Ozmun Nadia received a phone call that smoke alarms were going off in her mother-in-law's home in Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

When she arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames.

Martina Norwegian's home was completely destroyed by the fire, which took most of her belongings.

Norwegian was in Yellowknife when the fire broke out and arrived home later that evening. She said the only things she has left are what she packed in her suitcase before leaving town.

"It's surreal to have nothing — just personal items," said Norwegian.

Luckily, Norwegian said that many people are supporting her through the horrific experience, making the stress easier to bear.

Submitted by Sean Whelly
Submitted by Sean Whelly

It's the second house fire in the community within the past two months. It also comes after the worst flood in the community's memory.

"A lot of people are still recovering from that," said daughter-in-law Nadia. "Two months for all of this to be happening, it's an awful lot."

Nadia started a GoFundMe page for Norwegian in the hopes of alleviating some of the immediate stressors Norwegian faces, like replacing essential items.

"This was her lifetime home that she'd planned on retiring in and now she's starting from scratch again," said Nadia.

Norwegian is an active member of the community, spending much of her time with the historical society, the long term care home, and the church.

Norwegian said she is coping, but it's challenging.

"The focus is on me, but that's just not the way I work, so it's just having to breathe, and to be taken care of at this moment," said Norwegian.

She sends a big Mahsi to everyone helping her out through this difficult time.

Nobody was injured during the fire. The RCMP released a statement stating that they are investigating the fire along with the Office of the Fire Marshall for the Northwest Territories.

"At this time, the investigation is in its infancy, and there has been no determination regarding the cause of the fire," the statement reads.

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