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Fire destroys Manitoba First Nation's only grocery store


A remote northern Manitoba First Nation has declared a state of emergency after fire destroyed the community's only grocery store.

The fire began early Sunday morning and gutted the Northern Store of Brochet-Barren Lands Nation.

Chief John Clarke says the building was still smoldering 12 hours later, but no one was injured in the blaze.

He says his community of 600 people is in crisis and officials are working around the clock to get essential goods delivered.

Clarke says he's hoping the Red Cross can deliver some supplies as early as Monday.

The North West Company says it will open a temporary store Tuesday in the community hall in Brochet.

"We are committed to the residents of Brochet and in the long term plan to invest in a permanent store,'' says Michael Beaulieu, North West Company vice-president, sales and operations.

"Our priority is to ensure the community's needs are met. We will expand the assortment of everyday essential grocery products over the coming days and weeks, as renovations to the Community Hall are completed."

Manitoba RCMP say the fire is suspicious and is being investigated as an arson.

Brochet-Barren Lands Nation is about 900 kilometres north of Winnipeg near the Saskatchewan boundary.


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