Syncrude employees spend seven days on frontlines of fire
May 27, 2016
Syncrude’s Emergency Services received a call for help from the Fort McMurray Fire Department shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, as residents living in Abasand, Grayling Terrace and Beacon Hill received mandatory evacuation notices. Ten minutes later, Pumper Truck #5, two Emergency Services Fire Specialists and an Emergency Services Captain departed Mildred Lake for Fort McMurray to battle the flames.
“This circumstance was beyond Mutual Aid. We essentially sent half of our department to Fort McMurray,” says Tom Nash, Syncrude’s Fire Chief of Emergency Services. “We supplied above and beyond what was required because that was absolutely the right thing to do for our community.”
What happened in the hours and days to come was unprecedented. Nearly 90,000 people were evacuated north and south as fire destroyed thousands of structures, including the homes of some Syncrude employees. Just as quickly as flames surrounded the city, firefighters and other first responders moved in to combat the chaos, while Syncrude and other operators opened up their camps to evacuees.
Whether engaging fire on the front lines or assisting activities behind the scenes, Syncrude Emergency Services played a pivotal role in protecting communities and infrastructure from what’s become one of Canada’s costliest disasters. Syncrude’s frontline firefighters battled blazes, standing side-by-side with local personnel and firefighters from across Alberta for hours on end. At the same time, heavy equipment operators bravely built firebreaks by clearing trees and other vegetation, all as the world watched on. A big thank you for all of the work they have done ensuring the safety of our operations and region.