An official with London’s Salvation Army is sharing harrowing stories of survival from Alberta.
Perron Goodyear arrived in Edmonton on Friday to take over incident command and coordinate the team aiding evacuees and first responders in Fort McMurray.
“We’ve got a number of folks that are on our command structure, we use the incident command system. As well as we have a team of about 12 that are in the field in Fort McMurray providing food and hydration and emotional and spiritual support to the first responders.”
Goodyear was called in due to his previous experience in emergency disaster relief efforts, having been to Alberta before for floods and to other prairie provinces for wildfires. While he is stationed in Edmonton and has not seen the devastation first-hand, he’s heard accounts from evacuees.
“People telling us that they were evacuating with fire on each side and hearing stories of them that they need to get their tires replaced because the heat was just so intense and at times the smoke so overwhelming,”Goodyear told AM980 on Monday.
“We’ve spoken to some folks who do know already that they have nothing to go home to, that their home is one of the ones that has been destroyed and so really what they have now is everything that they have in the world.”
Londoners looking to help are encourage to donate money rather than goods, because the Salvation Army can then purchase the specific goods needed locally.
Donations can be made online or by texting FORTMAC to 45678.
Meantime, the London Knights Organizations is thanking fans for their generosity in helping those impacted by the wildfires. On Saturday, fans raised $4,102.95 bringing the money raised over the past two games to a total of $9,493.85.
Angel’s Family Restaurant is also raising funds for the relief effort. From now until Thursday, they’ll be collecting donations for the aid effort. On Tuesday specifically, all proceeds from meals will go toward relief efforts.
Goodyear adds that those displaced from Fort McMurray are overwhelmed by the support from all Canadians.
“It has really made an impact on them and they’re just so grateful to know, really, the entire country is standing behind them. That as they face these difficult days, that they’re certainly not in it alone.”
On Tuesday, 80-thousand residents were forced from their homes as the wildfire roared into the community. As of Sunday, it had grown to about 1600 square kilometres.