Island family waits in limbo after fleeing Alberta wildfire

Islanders who returned home during the Fort McMurray are wondering when they'll be able to go back, and what is there for them.

'Even though this is where I'm from, it doesn't feel like home'

Donna Jesso and her son Brandon are back home in Montague, but her husband and their daughter are still in Alberta. (CBC)

Many Islanders who were living in Fort McMurray at the time of the devastating wildfire have been left in limbo.

They're safe on P.E.I. for now, but are wondering what happens next.

The house we were staying at, that's gone. All of our stuff is gone.- Donna Jesso

"I've been feeling numb," said Donna Jesso, who said she finds herself stuck for ways to pass the time.

"Even though this is where I'm from, it doesn't feel like home. You just feel like you're out of sorts."

Family is divided

Jesso and her son Brandon fled Fort McMurray when the fire threatened the community, and they have been staying with friends and family in Montague, P.E.I.

Donna Jesso looks at some of the images she's received of the fire in Fort McMurray. (CBC)

Her husband and their daughter stayed in Alberta, working.

While Jesso and her son are trying to get back out west, they know there's not a lot to go home to.

"The house we were staying at, that's gone," she said. "All of our stuff is gone. So now it's like trying to find another place to live."

There's a shortage of housing, so for now there's not much to do but wait, said Jesso.

"It's just hard to process," she explained. "You kind of just sit back and it's like, 'I went through this? This is what we went through?' I don't know. You have your ups and your down days."

'Not going to be homeless anymore'

While he's happy to have this unexpected trip to the Island, Brandon Jesso is looking forward to a fresh start back in Alberta.

Passing the time has become a chore for the Jesso family, waiting for word from Fort McMurray. (CBC)

"When that time comes, it's going to be happy, because I'm not going to be homeless anymore," he said.

"Hopefully I never have to go through a fire again, because it was difficult."

While there's no way to be sure at this point, the Jesso family hopes to be back in Fort McMurray in a month.


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