Cause of deadly holiday house fire remains undetermined


The cause of a deadly holiday house fire that claimed the life a well-known Yellowknifer remains undetermined as investigators continue to probe the blaze.

“The Office of the Fire Marshal continues to investigate the circumstances of the fire originating at 51A Avenue,” NWT fire marshal Chucker Dewar told Yellowknifer Thursday morning.

Andrew Debogorsk, 32, was pronounced dead at Stanton Territorial Hospital after a devastating fire ripped through his home near J.H. Sissons School on the evening of Dec. 28.

His wife and two young children escaped the blaze.

Brendan Burke/NNSL photo.
The aftermath of the devastating Dec. 28 fire.
Jan. 3, 2019.

Debogorski was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – a debilitating illness that deprived him of his ability to walk and speak – in 2017. He relied on a wheelchair, and used a special device to communicate.

While the cause of the fatal remains unknown, the blaze is not considered suspicious in nature, said Dewar.

Digging crews worked to remove water from the premises last week, a process Dewar said is now complete.

The structural integrity of the badly damaged and now boarded-up home, said Dewar, means a partial demolition is needed – for safety reasons – before investigators can continue to probe the site.

“We can’t go any further until that’s been completed and efforts are underway to get that moving,” he said.

Dewar said the OFM is currently seeking a contractor to conduct the partial demolition.

Dewar was unable to say when the investigation is projected to wrap up.

A online fundraising campaign has raised thousands for Debogorski’s displaced family. A funeral is scheduled to be held tomorrow morning at St. Patrick’s Church.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at


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