Husband and wife fight fire in Fort McMurray while kids safe in Sask.
'All hell broke loose': Stephen Morari describes scene when fires first started
Stephen and Tia Morari are battling the fire by Fort McMurray, Alta., while their children are safe with their grandmother in Saskatoon.
The husband and wife are firefighters in the area, and they have both been pushed to their limits fighting the wildfires.
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"The week was pretty crazy," Stephen said.
We started fighting fires, but we had to leave our kids at the fire hall.- Stephen Morari
The week before the fires started, Tia was off work and with their children. But when the fire broke out, she knew she had to help fight it.
"We knew that this was going to be a pretty substantial effort based on the size of the fires that were coming in," Stephen said. "What made it a little more hectic was the fact that we had two small children at home and we were really at a loss for how we were going to get them out."
They brought their children to the fire hall as they went to work.
"All hell broke loose," Stephen said. "We started fighting fires, but we had to leave our kids at the fire hall."
His children are one and three years old. There were other children and pets at the fire hall with them.
"It was scary at times because there was fire near that fire hall too," Stephen said. "Apparently they were watching out the windows as they were spraying from the actual fire hall.
We need to stay hard here. There will be a time to be soft when this is over. But when we see the fire and have a job to do it's like something savage turns on inside you and you just go.- Tia Morari
"At the end of the night when I went to go get them, they were laughing and having a good time. But I mean they're pretty young. They didn't understand the gravity of the situation."
Stephen drove them away from the fire that night and made arrangements to get them back in Saskatchewan. Then he and his wife kept fighting the fires.
Devastating scenes from the field
"No one is here but firefighters and cops," Tia said. "Cops are going door to door to make sure people's houses are locked, so people can't come in and steal."
For Stephen, he has one specific memory etched in his mind when he was first responding in the city.
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"The fire was in the trees and the hills and there was black smoke coming down. I just remember a guy, a man carrying one of his small children in his arms coming down a hillside, somewhere you'd never see anybody walking. He basically evacuated or fled down a hillside."
Stephen and Tia are often deployed to different areas, and they sometimes don't hear from each other for 12 hours at a time.
"We need to stay hard here," Tia said. "There will be a time to be soft when this is over. But when we see the fire and have a job to do it's like something savage turns on inside you and you just go."
Their own home in Fort McMurray has not burned down.