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House fire doused, but homeowner still under heat

Monday's house fire in Porter Creek is being blamed on poorly installed insulation placed near the building's new chimney. The homeowner, meanwhile, faces more trouble than the damage done by the blaze.

Monday’s house fire in Porter Creek is being blamed on poorly installed insulation placed near the building’s new chimney.

The homeowner, meanwhile, faces more trouble than the damage done by the blaze.

The Yukon’s Department of Justice is trying to evict Marius Moustakas through the controversial Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act. He’s accused of bootlegging and selling prescription drugs.

The department is asking the court to evict Moustakas and shut down his property for 90 days.

The new chimney was supposed to be inspected on Monday, the same day a fire spread through the attic.

“He shouldn’t have probably lit his fire until he had it inspected, because the inspector would have told him ‘no,’” said Morley MacKay, acting platoon chief with the Whitehorse fire department.

Firefighters put out a fire at the house Sunday evening. It reignited just before 6 a.m. on Monday morning. That’s extremely common in these types of fires, especially in older homes like Moustakas’“old army structure,” said MacKay.

Moustakas told the firefighters that he had installed the insulation himself and that his 1312 Centennial Street home is not insured, said MacKay.

In the end, water damage, charred roof tresses and holes punched in the roof by firefighters will cost Moustakas an estimated $50,000 to $70,000 in damages, said MacKay.

Moustakas was back at the property on Tuesday, trying to clean up and repair the debris, he said.

The Yukon Supreme Court recently ordered the elderly Porter Creek resident to stop alleged bootlegging and drug dealing from his home.

The territory’s department of Public Safety and Investigations received a complaint about Moustakas back in December.

Investigators collected receipts and video surveillance from the Whitehorse liquor store, interviewed neighbours, staked out Moustakas’ property and filmed people as they entered and left the home.

Receipts and video from the liquor store showed Moustakas was buying more alcohol than what was “consistent with personal consumption,” according to the territory’s statement of claim, filed in June.

Neighbours and nearby store owners told investigators they worried about their safety and security. They described constant pedestrian and vehicle traffic to and from Moustakas’ house, public drunkenness, alleged thefts and drug transactions, littering and public defecation, the statement said.

Four months into the investigation, the department received another complaint about Moustakas, this time alleging that he sold prescription drugs, the statement continued.

Three days after they received the complaint, investigators staged a “mock buy” of liquor and prescription drugs from Moustakas at his home.

“After a conversation with the officers, Marius Moustakas offered a two-litre bottle of cider for sale and some capsules of morphine. The investigators did not purchase any products,” the statement says.

Less than two weeks before his house fire, Moustakas appeared in court and was given an order to stop any bootlegging and drug trafficking activities.

At that hearing, he asked the court to give him time to find a lawyer.

The house fire has not affected the case against Moustakas, said Justice officials, who wouldn’t comment because it is still before the courts.

SCAN has been criticized for breaching people’s rights and personal privacy without adequate evidence or legal warrant. It’s intended to help fight bootlegging, drug trafficking and prostitution.

Moustakas is expected to appear in court again in July.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at