Woodstove blamed for Arctic Farmer fire; fire marhsal calls for woodstove and fireplace safety

Photo from Arctic Farmer website

As colder weather sets in, the Northwest Territories Fire Marshal is preaching woodstove and fireplace safety.

Chucker Dewar has confirmed to CKLB that a fire that nearly killed a woman at her home on the Arctic Farmer property on Drybones Dr. in Kam Lake back in May was caused by an unsecured wood stove door. Dewar says sparks from the woodstove or the fire itself ignited nearby combustible materials.

Maria Ecklund was rescued from the fire before being medevaced to an Edmonton hospital however two dogs died in the blaze.

Dewar says anything that could burn should be placed at least a metre away from a woodstove or fireplace. He adds that his office is reminding residents to use extreme caution when operating their woodstove.

NWT Fire Marshal Chucker Dewar

“With the colder temperatures arriving it is important to service your woodstove in preparation for winter,” Dewar said.

He provided these safety tips:

  1. Only burn dry, well seasoned wood to prevent creosote build-up.
  2. Stores sell chimney cleaning materials such as chimney brushes etc.  They also sell chimney cleaning logs which loosen dangerous creosote to prevent chimney fires.
  3. Take appropriate safety precautions when cleaning your chimney (secure yourself) and wear proper footwear.  If you are not comfortable doing so, residents can also hire a professional to clean their chimney.
  4. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and servicing of their woodstove and furnace.
  5. Ensure seal around woodstove or fireplace door is in good shape and that door is sealing properly.
  6. Keep combustible materials a minimum of 36 inches away from woodstove to prevent accidental ignition.
  7. Ensure you have multiple functioning smoke detectors to alert household occupants in the event of a fire.

According to a Facebook post earlier this summer Eklund was recovering nicely.

Attempts to reach her Tuesday were unsuccessful.

More than $10,000 has been raised for her through the GoFundMe fundraising website.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.