Saskatoon

'It was like Doomsday': Fort McMurray evacuee still in shock after arriving in Saskatoon

Fort McMurray evacuee Sharon Tucker arrived in Saskatoon on Thursday with only the clothes on her back and a passport in her hand, after fire raced through her neighbourhood.

'I don’t think I’m in the reality of it yet,' says Fort McMurray evacuee Sharon Tucker

An RCMP officer surveys the damage in Fort McMurray, Alta. as a wildfire continues to burn. (RCMP)

It's been a stressful few days for Fort McMurray, Alta., evacuee Sharon Tucker.

She arrived in Saskatoon on Thursday with only the clothes on her back and a passport in her hand after fire raced through her neighbourhood.

"I don't think I'm dealing with it yet to be honest with you. I think I'm still in shock," Tucker told CBC radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"I don't think I'm in the reality of it yet. I think it's still happening like a movie."

Leaving the community

On Tuesday morning, Tucker woke up thinking the wildfires nearby were under control.

But when she saw the sky, she knew she had to leave.

I saw a big wall of flame and smoke and rolling, rolling flames.- Sharon Tucker

"I looked over to my left and it was like Doomsday. It was black like it was nine o'clock at night," Tucker explained.

"I saw a big wall of flame and smoke and rolling, rolling flames. It looked like it was just coming over top of the mall. So, I phoned my husband and I said, 'Do you see what's going on?'"

The couple decided to pack the back of their pickup truck with a filing cabinet full of important papers, four tubs of family photos and a change of clothes.

A plane surveys the area near a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Thursday, May 5, 2016. An ever-changing, volatile situation is fraying the nerves of residents and officials alike as a massive wildfire continues to bear down on the Fort McMurray area of northern Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Heading north

It took them three hours to get out of town.

"We just didn't move for the longest time in the city," she said, but they did catch a bit of a break.

"We were able to avoid a lot of the waiting time because a lot of the people aren't familiar with having to go north to go to work, so they don't know the different routes to get out of the city," she explained.

We just have to wait and see what we can do and when we can go back and see if there's anything left.- Sharon Tucker

"We wanted to go south but we had heard that the highway was closed already."   

Tucker and her husband ended up at the Shell Albian Sands camp north of Fort McMurray. She said it was crammed with people and their pets.

After a couple days of waiting, the two left their truck full of belongings behind to fly out to Edmonton from the camp. From there, they hopped on a flight to Saskatoon to stay with their children.

"We hadn't slept for two days," Tucker said.

The couple's home in the Timberlea neighbourhood of Fort McMurray is part of the devastated area.

"We just have to wait and see what we can do and when we can go back and see if there's anything left."

With files from CBC's Saskatoon Morning

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