NEWS

Fire devastates remote Bella Bella community

07/12/2013 03:56 EDT | Updated 09/11/2013 05:12 EDT
A remote First Nations community on B.C.'s northwest coast will be short on supplies after a fire destroyed the only grocery store in the area.

The fire broke out between 2 and 4 a.m. PT Friday morning at the band store in Bella Bella, about 150 kilometres north of Port Hardy. No one was injured.

The building also housed a post office, liquor store and a non-profit organization.

Bella Bella has a population of about 2,000 people, but the community also serves as a hub for the region.

Marilyn Slett, chief councillor of the Heiltsuk First Nation, says their biggest concern is getting supplies.

"You know, we're quite remote," she said. "We need to work with BC Ferries, and the airline services that come through here, and you know, a local barge, to see how we can provide grocery services to our community. That's one of our major concern right now."

Slett says there is a small store located across the channel, but it's not large enough to sustain the community.

The next closest grocery store is in Port Hardy, which is more than six hours away by ferry.

The community is looking at setting up a temporary store in a local church.

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