The Current

Anna Maria Tremonti's most memorable interviews: Firefighters in Fort McMurray

As her time as host of The Current comes to a close, Anna Maria Tremonti looks back at some of her favourite conversations from the past 17 years. In 2016, she travelled to Fort McMurray, Alta., as a massive wildfire swept across the city.

Tremonti travelled to Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2016 as wildfires engulfed the area

Firefighter Mike Chyka took this photo of fires raging through Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2016. (Mike Chyka)
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As her time as host of The Current comes to a close, Anna Maria Tremonti looks back at some of her favourite conversations from the past 17 years.

In 2016, Tremonti travelled to Fort McMurray, Alta., as massive wildfires swept across the city.

The fires saw the largest evacuation in Alberta's history. More than 2,500 homes were destroyed and damage amounted to $9 billion — making it the most expensive natural disaster in the country's history, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Tremonti heard both heartbreaking and heartwarming stories from the people who fled the fire — and the people who dropped everything to help them.

She also sat down with three firefighters from St. Albert near Edmonton, who were among the hundreds of others who descended upon Fort McMurray to help contain the blaze.

St. Albert firefighters from left to right: Steve Gillingham, Mike Chyka and Bryan Mroz. (Julian Uzielli/CBC)

Steve Gillingham, Mike Chynka and Bryan Mroz all told Tremonti it was unlike any other fire they've faced before.

"Seeing 30 homes on fire is a sight you are not going to easily soon forget," said Gillingham.

"Then trying to figure out how to fight that ... it doesn't matter how much experience you have on the job, you are going to be taken back by that much fire in that many homes."

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


Written by Jonathan Ore, with files from Amara McLaughlin.

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