Last Friday the community of Mayo lost one of its most important buildings.
The town’s drop-in centre burned to the ground in the early morning of May 23.
“It’s definitely a difficult loss,” said Nacho Nyak Dun chief Ed Champion. “There are all kinds of people who used that facility, from youth to elders.”
Mayo RCMP and the Yukon fire marshall’s office investigated the blaze, and determined that an electrical problem was the culprit. That was a weight off of Champion’s shoulders, he said. When he’d first heard about the blaze, he was initially worried it may have been the work of a suspected Mayo firebug who was arrested in connection with a house fire the following Monday.
But the RCMP confirmed the two fires were not related.
“That was a big relief, for sure,” the chief said.
Making the loss that much worse, the drop-in centre had recently been renovated and outfitted with all new appliances. Champion was in Whitehorse for meetings this week, but said as soon as he’s back the community will figure out plans to replace the lost building.
In the meantime, the Nacho Nyak Dun government building has been opened as an interim drop-in centre, Champion said.
As for the suspected arsonist, police said they were called to a house fire on Monday, May 26 just after 8 a.m. The fire appeared to be suspicious and police arrested the suspect near the scene. The investigation is on-going to determine whether charges will be laid, according to the RCMP.
The building was empty at the time, and no one was hurt, but the building itself was destroyed, leaving three people without a home in a town already facing a housing shortage.
Over the past two years there have been more than a dozen suspicious fires during the summer months in Mayo, baffling RCMP and leading them to suspect a serial arsonist.
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