Saskatoon

Saskatoon grandmother looks after her grandchildren evacuated from Fort McMurray

Rhonda Morari is thrilled her two young grandsons are safe and sound in her Saskatoon home after leaving Fort McMurray, Alta. this week but she worries for her son and daughter-in-law who stayed to help fight the fire.

Boys' parents stay behind to help growing blaze in Alberta

An evacuee took this photo through a bus window as he fled the fires in Fort McMurray on Tuesday. He said he could feel the heat of the flames through the walls of the bus. (Joshua Sleigh)

Rhonda Morari is thrilled her two young grandsons are safe and sound in her Saskatoon home after leaving Fort McMurray, Alta. this week but she worries for her son and daughter-in-law who stayed to help fight the fire. 

Morani's son Steve and daughter-in-law Tia are firefighters in Fort McMurray and stayed behind to help save their community.

'He wrote, 'There's chaos in Fort McMurray. Everyone is trying to get out.'- Rhonda Morari

"I would say it's been an emotional roller-coaster," said Morari as she was preparing lunch for her grandsons.

It all unfolded as the fires moved closer to the city and evacuations began. Her son Steve updated her via text message.

"He wrote that 'there's chaos at Fort McMurray. Everyone is trying to get out.' So it kind of piqued my interest and I called him and that's when he told me all hell is breaking loose." 
Steve and Tia Morari are still in Fort McMurray fighting the fires. (Joshua Sleigh)

Tia and Steve then made a plan to get their sons to safety in Saskatoon so they could stay behind and fight the fires burning parts of the city. 

Worrying continues

Morari's grandsons are one and three years old. The youngest is struggling a bit with his breathing because of the smoke but Morari said they are having fun on their Saskatoon acreage.

"Our deck is completely decorated with chalk. They've had water gun fights. I think we're just trying to keep them entertained and happy."

City fire fighters, like Tia Morari, stayed in Fort McMurray trying to save homes. (Submitted by Jenelle Ropson)

That doesn't mean the family is out of the woods when it comes worrying. Steve and Tia are still in Fort McMurray.

Morari spoke with Steve early this morning and she said the work being done by firefighters is incredible.

"He said the other thing too is you walk around these neighbourhoods and you see all these toys, and you know that once they were yards filled with really happy children. I think that one really hit him the hardest."

For now, all Morari and her husband Jeff can do is continue playing water guns with their grandsons and hope the situation improves in Fort McMurray.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story contained details about the circumstances of how the family left Fort McMurray that CBC has since learned are not accurate. Those details have been updated or removed from the story.
    May 06, 2016 10:21 AM CT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Anderson

Freelance contributor

Eric Anderson is the communications leader for Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon and creator of the podcast YXE Underground. He spent nearly eight years with CBC Saskatchewan.

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