Piapot First Nation has declared a state of emergency after its water treatment plant burned to the ground on Monday night.

Officials say the fire started inside the plant around 11:30 p.m. inside the building and spread into a grass fire outside of the building. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The first nation doesn’t have any fire-fighting services, but Councillor Ira Lavallee said the community reached out to surrounding RMs. The calls weren’t answered in time.

The plant was built in 2011 and is the main source of water for the entire first nation. Seventeen homes have no water and 240 others depend on a water delivery truck from the facility. Piapot is asking residents to conserve water and is in talks with the neighbouring Muscowpetung First Nation to get water from its treatment plant.

The school and many other services were forced to close on Tuesday due to water shortages. Officials hope to have the services open again on Wednesday. They are also working to get a portable water treatment plant installed.

Lavellee said the plant was insured and they are working to get the paperwork together to rebuild. But, that rebuild could take a year or more.