Fort Simpson family displaced by fire asking for volunteers to help with repairs

The family is currently living in a camper and worries they will be unable to return home in time for winter.

Wanda Sibbeston-Grossetete's home was damaged by a fire on May 31, 2021. Her and her husband have been working to repair it since, but are worried that without some volunteers it will not be repaired in time for winter. (Photo courtesy of Wanda Sibbeston-Grossetete.)

After a house fire displaced her family, Wanda Sibbeston-Grossetete of Fort Simpson is worried her home won’t be repaired in time for winter. 

Sibbeston-Grossetete says they are in need of volunteers to help with repairs, but those are hard to come by as many in the community are busy repairing their own homes damaged by the devastating flooding that hit this past spring. 

Just after 4 p.m. on May 31, Sibbeston-Grossetete says her family was gathered in their living room when they heard a loud bang come from the back of the house. Her daughter then went to check it out.

“There was nothing but flames,” Sibbeston-Grossetete said.

The home’s smoke alarms didn’t warn them of the fire and she says they are lucky no one was injured from the experience, although it was traumatizing. 

The office of the NWT fire marshal said the cause of the fire could not be determined, but Sibbeston-Grossetete says she believes it was caused by an electrical issue. 

The fire destroyed the back of the house as well the entire roof and there is smoke damage throughout.

Sibbeston-Grossetete says she doesn’t have insurance and the cost of repairs have put them in debt. Neither Sibbeston-Grossetete or her husband Allan Grossetete have been working since the fire, making the financial situation worse. (A fundraiser was recently launched to try and pay for the repairs.)

The family has been living out of two campers they own, but Sibbeston-Grossetete says these aren’t equipped for the winter and she’s worried her home won’t be repaired by then. 

Roofing, drywalling, plumbing and wiring are just some of the tasks that still need to be completed before the home is livable.  

“We’re just trying to get as much done before winter hits,” she said, “there’s very minimal people that are helping us.”

She did credit a few community members including Randy Horesay and Jonathan Tsetso to name a few, for helping with roofing.

But with winter coming, many are focused on their own housing issues. 

This also wasn’t the only house fire that displaced Fort Simpson residents this spring, as Martina Norwegian lost her home to a fire in late June — police are investigating the incident. 

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at