Two prisoners die in jailhouse fire on troubled Ontario reserve

at 20:45 on January 8, 2006, EST.

OTTAWA (CP) - Two residents of the Kashechewan reserve died and a police officer was injured after a fire broke out Sunday morning in the troubled community's jail, New Democrat MP Charlie Angus said late Sunday.

Two young men were in their cells when a fire broke out, Angus said. A duty officer tried to get them out but the padlocks failed.

The officer, who was injured in the fire, was taken off the remote Northern Ontario reserve for emergency medical treatment, Angus said.

All but 200 of the 1,700 residents of the reserve were evacuated last November after E. coli bacteria was found in their water supply.

The deadly bacteria has since been cleaned out of the water system and a boil water order that had been in effect for two years was also lifted.

Angus was instrumental in bringing the tainted water situation to light.

After speaking with Kashesewan chief Leo Friday, Angus said it's still unclear how the fire started, although it is believed to have started in or near the cells.

The community jail, which "looks like a flophouse" was in poor condition and didn't have proper jail doors or padlocks, he added.

"Again, it's this makeshift and make-do operations, failure of infrastructure in that community," said the MP.

"These death have really shaken up the community. It just seems like more tragedy upon tragedy has been piled up in these communities. People are very upset there right now."

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