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Iqaluit fire leaves dozens homeless

Iqaluit fire leaves dozens homeless with temperatures dipping down to -50 C (-58 F) in the northern Canadian winter.

Iqaluit fire 2012 02 27Enlarge
Snowmobiles travel across a frozen Frobisher Bay off Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, February 5, 2010. (Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

Dozens are homeless as a result of a fire that destroyed a townhouse complex in the northern city of Iqaluit, Canada, on Sunday night, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Temperatures dipped below -50 C (-58 F) with the wind chill as firefighters tried to put out the blaze, reported the National Post, as it destroyed the 22-unit block of row houses. Nearby Nakasuk Elementary School suffered flooding from water used to fight the fire, which began just before 10 p.m. on Sunday and was still shooting flames into the sky at 1 a.m. on Monday.

Early reports from Nunavut's territory-wide coroner Padma Suramala confirmed two died in the blaze, according to the Canadian Press, but the coroner's office later said that could no longer be confirmed. CBC reported two dead and that the coroner was unable to confirm whether or not there were other deaths caused by the fire.

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The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, according to The Globe and Mail, with Royal Canadian Mounted Police expecting the investigation to take several days. CBC also reported the RCMP called the fire suspicious. Police said that the entire building has burned to the ground. Forensic Identification Services are flying to Iqaluit to help the local RCMP investigate.

According to CBC, the community is rallying together to help those affected by the fire. More than 50 of the homeless are children, from five months all the way to 18 years old.

CP reported that the Nunavut Research Institute has been designated the official donations centre. The Red Cross is on its way with essentials such as toiletries and vouchers for food and clothing. The food bank has also made up grocery baskets, and citizens and businesses are being asked for donations of clothing, bedding and cash.

"I get all out of sorts & heavy hearted when we have a house fire in our city," Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern posted late Sunday night on her personal Twitter account, reported Sun News.

"Most people have lost everything," she told CP.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120227/iqaluit-fire-leaves-dozens-homeless