Fire puts Fort McMurray firefighting couple to work in Regina Beach
Off for a couple of days in Saskatchewan, firefighters from Fort McMurray witness, fight another house fire
A pair of firefighters who fought the devastating fires of Fort McMurray, Alta., couldn't catch a break, even while on their days off in Saskatchewan.
Tia and Stephen Morari had this past weekend off, and decided to visit family in Regina Beach, Sask. While on a walk in the community, they quickly reverted to work-mode after seeing plumes of smoke billowing from a nearby house.
"Just by how the smoke looked, how it was puffing and the colour of it and then right away I could hear the fire I knew it was more than a campfire or a garbage fire," Tia Morari told CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition.
Tia and Stephen were both born in Saskatchewan, but were living in Fort McMurray, Alta., working for the fire department at the time of the evacuations.
They said the Regina Beach fire department arrived shortly, but the Morari's did everything except idly stand by.
"It was windy so I knew where the fire was headed so I gave the department some tips," Tia said.
"We were helping them pull lines and coming straight from Fort McMurray we're so used to this, it's almost robotic."
Stephen Morari said he ran to neighbouring homes, telling homeowners to start wetting their lawns and their houses in case the fire spread, but luckily it didn't.
Returning to Fort McMurray
After a couple of days away, the Morari's are heading back to Fort McMurray. Looking back on the massive fire fight, Stephen said he's never fought a fire with the sense of urgency like he felt in Fort McMurray this month.
"Any fires we were able to stop were really saving the city, so you're fighting a fire with the knowledge that if this fire got past you, you're going to lose more homes— more people's lives are going to be affected," he said.
The Morari's said their home in Fort McMurray is safe despite a couple of close calls. But the timeline for when they can return home has been a moving target.
"We've heard 30 to 90 days, nothing is for sure," Tia said.
While the couple has been fighting fires, their children are staying in Regina with family.