LAC-MÉGANTIC, Que. – Donations poured into Lac-Mégantic from across Canada in the aftermath of the 2013 rail disaster, and now the Quebec town wants to give back by raising money for the victims of the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Mégantic-L’Erable MP Luc Berthold and Lac-Mégantic Mayor Jean-Guy Cloutier put out a call for citizens to donate to the Red Cross, and on Thursday, Cloutier said the town council would also be making a donation.
Berthold, whose riding includes Lac-Mégantic, said residents are grateful for the support they received in the wake of the 2013 rail disaster that killed 47 people and wiped out much of the city’s downtown core.
“Three years ago it was our population that was struck down by tragedy, and all of Canada mobilized itself for us,” he said.
“Now, it’s our turn to support this community.”
Residents “can’t help but remember what happened in 2013” when they see images of the fire ripping through the Alberta city, Berthold said.
WATCH BELOW: Response to the Fort McMurray wildfires
Based on Lac-Mégantic’s experience, he believes Fort McMurray residents will have to be patient when the time comes to rebuild.
Lac-Mégantic’s main road is still not rebuilt, three years after a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded.
Berthold said the citizens of Fort McMurray will face a similar challenge.
“Maybe it will never be the same Fort McMurray.”
Cloutier said locals understand how the Fort McMurray victims are feeling.
WATCH BELOW: Lac-Mégantic train disaster
“Today, we understand the emotions being lived by the population of Fort McMurray,” he said in a statement.
The mayor also said Fort McMurray residents must show courage and determination during the ordeal.
Canadians donated $14 million to the Red Cross after the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday the federal government will match all donations to the Red Cross to assist people displaced by the wildfires.