Ask Fire Chief Byron Stacey why members of Syncrude’s Fire Department are always ready to spring into action to help in a community emergency and he’d give you a solid answer.
“It’s always about helping people. We’ve always felt that this is our community. Whether we have an event happening on-site or in town, the need to help out in any capacity has always been there,” says Byron.
“It’s just a natural thing for us. We want to help. When you talk about the flood that’s happening now, we can’t stop it, but if we can hold it at bay to prevent one or two families from living through the next two or four months of displacement, that’s what we want to do.”
On Sunday, April 26, a dozen members of Syncrude Fire Department were deployed to pump out floodwater and to help rescue stranded community members. Two Hytran trailer-mounted, high-volume submersibles fire pumps that can pump out water at a capacity of 8,000 gallons a minute per pump, pumped water in the hopes to protect homes.
Meanwhile, two water rescue crews ran smaller boats into flooded areas and fetched people and pets from their homes or wherever they may be stranded and ferried them to dry land.
Byron says he first chatted with Fort McMurray Fire Chief Jody Butz at about 8 a.m. on Sunday about what kind of help the community might need. By noon, the water pumps were on their way to work.
As the flood relief work continued Syncrude helped, including a crew from Tailings and Lease Development pumping water out of Taiga Nova, an eco-industrial park in Fort McMurray.
The crews have faced many emergency situations in the past but the current situation poses a different challenge resulting from the distancing protocol necessitated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that the crews follow protocols of physical distancing and wear masks while performing their tasks.
Byron says though the crew members have had long days, they are in high spirits as they continue to serve the community.
Syncrude folks from Tailings and Lease Development helped pump water out of Taiga Nova
Eco-Industrial Park in Fort McMurray.