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

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read