A former Durham resident forced to flee his home in Fort McMurray because of the wildfires has returned to the fire ravaged city. Rita Nave has the details.
Derek Martin, Returned home to Fort McMurray
“The first thing we see when we come into town is a big sign that normally says welcome to Fort McMurray. But one of local radio morning guys changed sign to Welcome home Fort McMurray, which was quite a nice touch.”
Derek Martin says it’s good to be home. He, his wife Cyndi and their dog Bear were among thousands of people to evacuate Fort McMurray, Albert almost a month ago during the raging wildfires. The three returned home Wednesday evening after being given the all clear. For 3 weeks they had been living at his boss’ friend’s home 5 hours away.
“The hardest hit areas are the first areas you see as you come into town. The first area you see is Centennial Trailer park. That is completely gone. Nothing but black burnt out shells of trailers. So a lot of devastation, burnt and blackened areas, missing trees, familiar sites.”
Fortunately the Martin’s home and the neighbourhood they live in were spared.
“The area we were in centre of the burning area, so several streets away from fire. There was no need to bomb the area with water. So pretty much the same condition as when we left.”
Martin says the support has been overwhelming.
“This tragedy could not have happened to a more prepared community. Everyone has basic first aid, fire training. We’re used to coping with bad winters. All employers have been great to their employees making sure they have a job to come back to. Amazing town and no place I’d rather be.”