Manitoba chief says fire inspections would condemn reserve homes

WINNIPEG — The chief of a northern Manitoba reserve where a baby died in a house fire says his band can’t afford to have its homes inspected for hazards.

Chief David McDougall of St. Theresa Point First Nation told an inquest into the girl’s death that most of the reserve’s homes would be condemned if they were inspected.

He says many homes still rely on wood stoves and others aren’t built to handle electrical heaters.

McDougall says the reserve doesn’t have the money to upgrade houses, so many people are afraid to have them inspected.

The inquest is examining a fire in St. Theresa Point in January 2011 that killed two-month-old Errabella Harper.

It’s also investigating a second fire about two months later in God’s Lake Narrows that killed Demus James and his two grandchildren.

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