As the massive Fort McMurray wildfire makes its way across Canada, more and more photos and videos of the devastation and its effects are surfacing online and in the press. So too are heartbreaking stories of loss. Not just of personal property, but of people’s lives and, as was thought by Stephanie Greene and her family, beloved pets. Or at least that was the case until Greene received a call from a volunteer with firefighting experience who stayed behind in the Northern Alberta oil town to help with the evacuation efforts.
The Greenes managed to escape the fires in Fort McMurray without a scratch. However, they were unable to swing by the family home to retrieve their puppy, Max. So Stephanie used her Facebook page to post photos of the dog, directions to the Abasand neighborhood they live in, and information about a reward. In the meantime, she found countless other posts from similarly frantic Fort McMurray and Alberta pet owners who weren’t allowed back into their homes once the mandatory evacuations orders had been given. These were desperate lost and found announcements about dogs, cats and other pets who were left behind.
That’s when Marty Frost, whom CBC News describes as a volunteer with firefighting experience who’d stayed behind to help out, called Stephanie at 3 a.m. on Friday:
Frost said finding the pup was no easy task because of a bizarre numbering pattern on the streets in the city’s Abasand neigbhourhood, which had been hard hit in the early days of the fire.
“The street signs are melted, and all your reference points are gone,” he said.
“Nothing looks the same.”
Despite the difficulties, Frost found the house, rescued Max (and the family’s pet rabbit) and sent the pup on his way back to the Greenes. The family was over the moon, prompting Stephanie to share their excitement on Facebook:
Once Max and the rabbit were delivered to the Greenes’ temporary residence in Calgary, Stephanie offered further updates on social media:
Frost isn’t the only hero who stayed behind to help find residents’ pets and whisk them away to safety. According to CBC News, a “rogue” group of people led by Wyatt Colquhoun-Rivard spent the first few days of the mandatory evacuation doing the same. Colquhoun-Rivard told the outlet they’d been providing fuel for emergency personnel on the scene, but after conditions worsened and they were asked to wait, he and a few others decided to go in anyway.