Looking back. One year after "the beast."
May 2, 2017
Almost one year ago to this day, a devastating wildfire coined as “the beast” seized the gateway into Canada’s Oil Sands, Fort McMurray, Alberta. The fire earned its named “the Beast” after charring roughly 590,000 hectares of land, and due to it having a mind of its own – which was menacing and unpredictable. On May 3rd, 2016, it did the unthinkable and hopped the Athabasca River jeopardizing all of Fort McMurray. Nearly 88,000 residents were abruptly informed that they needed to evacuate the city. Unimaginable footage of people escaping the city started to surface on social media, and then on the news, which captured the hearts of millions around the world. Our team was no different - that day we stopped working and sat crowded around a computer watching in awe. Feeling helpless for Fort McMurray – we knew we needed to find a way to help.
Fast Labour Solutions and Spirit Staffing not only donated to the Canadian Red Cross – but was integral to helping Fort McMurray residents return home. We deployed our first crew on May 24th; at its peak we had 560 temporary workers, who all worked tirelessly around the clock to get vital services and infrastructure back to a safe working state. Throughout the summer our employees restored hundreds of structures including grocery stores, hotels, banks, restaurants, schools, and homes. Our employees showed resilience, and all were so grateful they were able to make a difference. We wanted to take an opportunity to personally thank each of our employees, for their hard work and dedication during this time, and for showing Fort McMurray that we care.
On May 9th and 10th, we hosted a career fair in Edmonton which attracted over 1000 people. We had such an overwhelming response that our company website crashed and our office literally ran out of paper. We owe many thanks to the Alberta Works – Argyll Centre team for helping us with crowd control, as well as supplying us with more paper. It was amazing to see so many people who simply just wanted to help. Fort McMurray residents were given our first hiring priority, and over the course of 4 months we employed 168 evacuees.
One year later, the rebuild and memories continue. #AlbertaStrong remains. Even though it was classified as one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history, “the beast” did not claim any lives. We owe many thanks and credit to all the first responders, firefighters, and Chief Darby Allen for miraculously controlling the positive outcome of this fire. We stand behind Fort McMurray 100% and will continue to be there when help is needed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always, especially as we reach this tragic one year mark.
The whole team of Fast Labour Solutions/Spirit Staffing