Fire crews and police clean up after tending to a house fire in downtown Whitehorse Thursday, Oct. 26. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News)

Fire breaks out at duplex in downtown Whitehorse during ‘police operation’

Witnesses reported hearing lound bangs before fire broke out

One person is facing drug charges after Whitehorse RCMP executed a search warrant at downtown home the night of Oct. 26, during which a fire broke out.

RCMP spokesperson Coralee Reid said four police officers and “a number of occupants” were in the single-story duplex on 6158 6th Ave., between Strickland and Alexander streets, when the fire started.

Everyone made it out of the home safely, Reid said, and police also evacuated the adjoining duplex and other nearby residences.

The Whitehorse Fire Department arrived on scene around 9:40 p.m. and found the building in flames.

Several witnesses on scene told the News they had heard one or two loud bangs before seeing flames shooting out of the windows and that firefighters were able to put out the blaze almost immediately.

Reid said the bangs were not gunshots, but that the RCMP tactical team deployed “tools” inside the house. She declined to elaborate on what those tools were.

Police taped off a portion of 6th Avenue following the fire as firefighters continued to vent smoke from the structure. A handful of police officers carrying large rifles were also on scene, as was RCMP Insp. Keith MacKinnon.

A dog died in the fire “despite attempts to revive” it, police said, but no other injuries were reported.

Police arrested four people at the scene. Three have since been released. The fourth person is facing several charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and is scheduled to appear in Whitehorse court Friday afternoon.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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