Indigenous

First Nation offers free gas to Fort McMurray fire evacuees

A First Nation near Edmonton is offering a free tank of gas to residents fleeing the fire-ravaged northern city of Fort McMurray.

'We needed to do something as a First Nation,' says Enoch Cree Nation gas bar manager

Staff at the North on 60 Gas Bar on the Enoch Cree Nation have been giving free fuel to evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfire. (Valerie Alexander)

A First Nation near Edmonton is offering a free tank of gas to residents fleeing the fire-ravaged northern city of Fort McMurray.

The North on 60 gas bar is owned by the Enoch Cree Nation, a First Nation located near Spruce Grove west of Edmonton. As of Friday morning, manager Valerie Alexander said the station had already pumped nearly 30 free tanks of gas.

"They're very, very grateful and we've had people on the verge of tears," she said. "It's heartbreaking listening to their stories so it's heartwarming to be able to help these people, because I just couldn't imagine it happening to myself."

Alexander said the gas station started offering free gas to evacuees on Thursday after she watched the devastation caused by the wildfire on the news and after hearing stories of people fleeing, sometimes with just the clothes on their backs.

"I did donate to the Red Cross but I wanted to do more."

She said she spoke to Enoch Chief William Morin, who immediately agreed to the idea of offering free fuel to evacuees.

"We needed to do something as a First Nation," Alexander said. 
Vehicles wait for fuel at the North on 60 Gas Bar, located on the Enoch Cree Nation west of Edmonton. The service station has been giving free fuel to people fleeing the Fort McMurray wildfire. (Valerie Alexander)

The North on 60 gas bar is located on Highway 60, about eight kilometres south of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Alexander said the gas bar will continue offering free tanks of fuel over the weekend. In order to qualify, you simply have to show proof that you live in Fort McMurray. 

Alexander stressed that the offer is open to anyone, not just First Nation people. 

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