Baker Lake residents get through major fire with a little help from their friends

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The hamlet of Baker Lake recently sent out a letter of appreciation to all who helped them overcome the fire that destroyed most of the hamlet’s municipal fleet of vehicles in January.

Flames light-up the darkness as a horrific fire rips through the Hamlet 6 municipal bay garage in Baker Lake during the early morning hours of Jan. 29. photo courtesy of Hamlet of Baker Lake
Flames light-up the darkness as a horrific fire rips through the Hamlet 6 municipal bay garage in Baker Lake during the early morning hours of Jan. 29. photo courtesy of Hamlet of Baker Lake

Senior administrative officer Sheldon Dorey said Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) were there for the hamlet right off the bat.

He said in-town companies like Peter’s Expediting Ltd., Arctic Fuel and BLCS all provided various levels of assistance for a short period of time until the hamlet received its new vehicles.

“The in-town companies were a great help by offering transportation, carrying stuff up to AEM, driving people to and from, and all those kinds of things,” said Dorey.

“Aurora Ford quickly found a couple of trucks for us and the hamlet of Enterprise, NWT, and the Little Red River Cree Nation of Alberta helped a great deal by agreeing to take a later shipping date on trucks that had been identified for them.

“So, Hay River Ford was able to sell us the two vehicles all ready identified for those two communities, and then they found us a chassis, as well, which worked-out well for us because we had a tank here we were able to mount upon that chassis.

“We really owe a lot to the two communities that allowed us to take the vehicles that were going to them because, if not, we would have had to start looking around for less-appealing vehicles in the south that were not really specifically designed for the North and we would have had to wait a lot longer to get our vehicles.”

Dorey said when hamlets are looking to acquire new water or sewer trucks, the orders are for those specific vehicles.

He said a company like Aurora Ford may have a chassis, but they just don’t stock four or five sewer trucks at any time.

“These vehicles are almost built individually when you’re ordering them.

“You give them the specifications that you want – extra springs, this lever or that lever – and they take it from there.

“The municipality also received tremendous immediate and ongoing support from the Community and Government Services team, in particular, with regards to the logistics and financial requirements associated with air transportation for three newly acquired vehicles.

“The Hamlet of Arviat contacted us and offered one of their sewage trucks to assist until we can rebuild our fleet at sealift time and, again, one final tip of the hat to the hamlet of Enterprise and the Little Red River Cree Nation, as well as Aurora Hay River Heavy Truck Sales, for the most-appreciated parts they played in getting two new complete sewer trucks and a chassis to us in so short a time.”

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