RCMP says ‘no criminal element’ involved in fatal fire on reserve

NNSL file photo A Feb. 15 fire in this house on the Hay River Reserve claimed the life of one person.

NNSL file photo
A Feb. 15 fire in this house on the Hay River Reserve claimed the life of one person.

The victim of a fatal house fire on Feb. 15 on the Hay River Reserve has been officially identified.

The victim was 27-year-old Rodney Chambaud, according to Cathy Menard, the chief coroner of the NWT.

Menard said the identification was confirmed early last week.

A woman was also seriously injured in the fire and medevaced to Edmonton for treatment.

In a Feb. 24 news release, the RCMP said it has completed its investigation into the fire.

“There was no criminal element identified and the Hay River RCMP is assisting with a coroner’s investigation as the file is now with the NWT Coroner Services,” stated the news release from Marie York-Condon, a civilian employee responsible for media relations with the RCMP’s G-Division in Yellowknife.

In addition, the NWT Fire Marshal’s Office is also continuing its investigation.

“We’re still looking at the circumstances surrounding the fire,” NWT Fire Marshal Chucker Dewar told The Hub.

Menard said the coroner’s office won’t be revealing its findings until its investigation is complete.

“We’re waiting for the Fire Marshal’s Office to finish their investigation, as well,” she said.

However, like the RCMP, Menard said the fire is “non-suspicious.”

According to an earlier RCMP news release, officers arrived on the scene of the fire at about 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 to find a house engulfed in flames.

The injured female was removed from the house on Wolf Drive by members of the Hay River Fire Department and transported to the Hay River Regional Health Centre for medical attention.

The Hay River Fire Department was able to contain the fire, and there was no damage to neighbouring properties.

Once the fire was extinguished, the victim was located inside the residence.

After the fire, the walls of the house were still standing, but the roof had been burned off the structure.

–Paul Bickford