Members of the Vancouver Fire Fighters Local 18 took to the downtown streets this morning to raise money for the tens of thousands of people displaced by the fires in Fort McMurray.
And by the end of it they had raised just over $28,000 for the Canadian Red Cross, an amount that will be matched by the federal government.
The money will help those people now housed in shelters, hundreds of kilometres from their friends, families, and in so many cases their burnt out homes.
Association president Robert Weeks says the response was generous, even though it’s difficult for many to comprehend just how difficult it is for local communities, and local firefighters, to see their own homes burn.
“To be working and living in a community and knowing that your home quite likely was burnt down is tragic and that certainly resonates with us.”
Weeks says members already do thousands of hours of volunteer work every year, but this crisis really strikes a nerve.
“We’re acutely aware of the victims of disaster, we go to house fires where people are burnt out of house and home. The effect on their families and their friends is tragic.”
Red Cross Canada says more than $54 million has been donated so far.
Thanks from Alberta
The deputy premier of Alberta says Albertans are grateful for the support they’ve received from B.C. and other provinces.
Speaking at the close of this year’s Western Premiers’ Conference held in Vancouver.
Sarah Hoffman, who was filling in for premier Rachel Notley at the Western Premiers’ Conference in Vancouver, said she appreciated Premier Christy Clark’s call for social services workers to help the tens of thousands of Albertans now staying in shelters, away from their friends and families along with those fighting the fires.
“Some of the very unique supports that you just don’t plan for, like having the vast number of psychologists trained to work with the vast number of firefighters who are dealing with the after effects of the trauma that they and their communities are enduring.”
Meanwhile Premier Christy Clark says she and her Western counterparts will be pushing for the feds to return disaster-mitigation funding back to previous levels.