Shamattawa First Nation declares state of emergency after fire guts store, band office

Shamattawa First Nation declares state of emergency after fire guts band office, grocery store.

(The grocery store and band office in Shamattawa First Nation was gutted by fire Thursday. Photo courtesy Roy Miles)

Dennis Ward
APTN National News
The Chief of a northern Manitoba First Nation has declared a state of emergency after a fire destroyed the only grocery store, the band office, 911 call centre ‎and radio station.

The fire has also resulted in the loss of Internet service in the remote northern community, something Chief Jeffrey Napaokesik says the community relies on heavily.

Reports of the fire first came in Thursday afternoon when many in the community were attending a funeral.

When reached by phone Thursday night, the chief said the fire continues to burn.

He said the immediate concern is getting an emergency supply store set up as soon as possible on Friday.

Shamattawa 1
Photo Courtesy Roy Miles.

Napaokesik said most members of the community are on social assistance and live day to day. There will be an immediate need for things like water and baby formula.

There will be an immediate need for things like water and baby formula.

Shamattawa First Nation is a fly-in community with about 1,000 members 750 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

Officials from the Northwest Company are due in Shamattawa in the morning with supplies for an emergency store that will be established.

The chief said things are calm right now but expects people to wake up in a panic in the morning.

Officials will be going door to door in the morning to explain how things will be handled.

The chief said at the moment nobody appears to be missing or have been caught in the fire.

He says it’s too early to know how the fire started.

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Host, Producer / Winnipeg

Dennis is Métis from southern Manitoba. After spending a decade working in TV in Alberta and Ontario, Dennis returned to Manitoba to join APTN’s Winnipeg bureau as a reporter/correspondent in September 2014. In 2016, he won a Canadian Association of Journalists award for his story A Soldier Scorned for APTN Investigates. In 2017, he became a host/producer for APTN National News and Face to Face. In 2020, Dennis and co host Melissa Ridgen were nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best News Anchor, National.

1 thought on “Shamattawa First Nation declares state of emergency after fire guts store, band office

  1. thanks so much for the much needed inconvenience and out-right disrespect for the rest of your community kids. maybe a little more than a slap on the wrist is in order, regardless of the ages.

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