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Shelter destroyed
Construction company responds to fire with water truck

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012

A stop at the Dory Point Territorial Park on Aug. 6 provided Ian Flood with more than the view he was expecting.

NNSL photo/graphic

Only a blackened frame remains on Aug. 6 after a kitchen shelter at Dory Point Territorial Park burned. - photo courtesy of Ian Flood

Flood and his wife were returning to Hay River, where they moved four months ago, after a sightseeing trip to Yellowknife. The couple had been visiting places along the way and one of their guidebooks suggested the Dory Point Territorial Park, located on Highway 3 near the Mackenzie River ferry crossing, was a good place to take photos of the river.

In addition to the view, the couple found the charred remains of the kitchen shelter. A fire had reduced the octagonal structure to a skeletal frame and the end of one of the beams was still smoldering at approximately 5 p.m., said Flood.

"It's a great shame," Flood said. "It's sad, very sad."

The fire started either late Sunday night, Aug. 5, or early on Monday morning, said Mike Couvrette, a regional programs co-ordinator for the South Slave region with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Staff with Ruskin Construction Ltd., the company building the Deh Cho Bridge, reported the fire to the RCMP shortly after midnight on Monday morning. The ferry had already shut down for the night, preventing the Fort Providence Volunteer Fire Department from responding, Couvrette said.

Ruskin used one of its water trucks to try and extinguish the fire.

"We are extremely disappointed," said Couvrette about the loss of the structure.

"This is the first one we've had burn."

The shelter was similar to ones that the department also has at Chan Lake, the Fort Providence Territorial Park and the Kakisa day use area. The screened in kitchen shelters are designed to provide travellers with a sheltered place to have a small fire for cooking. The shelter had a small firepit in its centre.

Couvrette said he is disappointed someone would either let a fire get that out of control or would light a fire purposefully to damage the shelter. To rebuild the shelter would take more than $200,000 including labour and materials, he said.

Cleaning up

The department has asked a contractor to provide a quote for cleaning up the remains of the shelter.

Couvrette said Dory Point Territorial Park does see a reasonable amount of traffic and is a nice place for people to stop. In addition to the kitchen shelter, the park also has picnic tables, a covered barbecue area and washrooms along with a view of the Mackenzie River.

Phone calls to the RCMP about whether they are investigating the fire and how it started were not returned by press time.

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