Edmonton

'I was shocked': After losing home to wildfire, Fort McMurray man wins lottery

Chris Flett never felt like a lucky guy, until now.

'You can't win if you don't play. Eventually you have a shot. I was the guy who never wins'

"I was the guy who never wins": Chris Flett never felt like a lucky guy, until learning he's won the lottery. (Chris Flett/Facebook )

Chris Flett never felt like a lucky guy, until now.

After losing his home in the Fort McMurray wildfire, weeks of evacuation and the stress of returning to the decimated city, Flett is celebrating a big windfall.

He won $432,030 in the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation Mighty Millions Lottery's 50/50 draw.

It was the kind of wake-up call Flett dreamed of.

"I found out because my phone started ringing off the hook while I was still in the bed," Flett said in an interview of CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"I was shocked and in a bit of disbelief. I wasn't sure whether there was another Chris Flett in my community so I was cautiously optimistic."

'I was the guy who never wins'

Flett has been busy rebuilding his home in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood, where hundreds of properties burned to the ground.

Shortly after he and his family evacuated the city on May 3, their home was destroyed and they lost everything.

Flett and his family ended up at Teen Time Ranch, where they spent the next four weeks with hundreds of other evacuees.

"We were forced to evacuate with very little notice, and grabbed little more than the clothes on our back. We ended up losing our home in the fire, as (did) many family and friends," Flett said. 

"There's a lot of things that even insurance can't replace, so we are down when it comes to our belongings."

Chris Flett surveys the remains of his Beacon Hill home after the May wildfire decimated his neighbourhood. (Chris Flett/Facebook )

Flett will be using some of the funds for his new home and for his children's education. He also wants to give back to the charities who helped his family during the disaster and share some of his windfall with friends and family who are still struggling after the fire. 

The other half of the 50/50 prize benefits the Stollery Children's Hospital's pediatric and neonatal intensive care units.

"This year has been such a roller coaster," Flett said.

"Now, to have two completely life-changing events, I don't even know how to explain it, it's one of the greatest feelings. And it actually gives me the opportunity to give the same feeling to others. It's been great."

"You can't win if you don't play. Eventually you have a shot. I was the guy who never wins."

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