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Fort McMurray wildfire: A harsh homecoming for Brian Jean

Coming home was not pleasant: Wildrose leader Brian Jean
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean tells Vassy Kapelos his life will never be the same after he lost his home to the raging wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

He may be homeless at the moment, but Wildrose leader Brian Jean says he’s trying to stay positive as the crisis in Fort McMurray continues to unfold.

Jean’s home is among the 20 per cent of dwellings in the oil patch city that fell victim to a raging fire that has been dubbed “the beast” as it continues to spread across northern Alberta.

“Well certainly it wasn’t pleasant to come home and come to my front driveway and see that my truck was melted into the pavement, nor that my house was about a foot tall,” the politician told The West Block’s Vassy Kapelos.

“But you know what did make me happy is the fact that nobody was hurt. No animals were hurt. No people were hurt. As far as we’re aware, there have been no casualties in the town itself or around the city limits.”

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What’s left of Alberta Wildrose leader Brian Jean’s home in Fort McMurray.
What’s left of Alberta Wildrose leader Brian Jean’s home in Fort McMurray. Courtesy, Wildrose Party

Jean acknowledged that on a personal level, he and his families have lost “very significant memories,” but that he, like other residents of Fort McMurray who have lost everything, is determined to rebuild.

WATCH: Alberta Opposition Leader Brian Jean was one of the many who lost their homes in Fort McMurray. Tom Vernon reports.
Fort McMurray Wildfire: Brian Jean house destroyed in fire
Fort McMurray Wildfire: Brian Jean house destroyed in fire

Jean also noted that major infrastructure like city hall and the local hospital were not seriously damaged, and about 80 per cent of homes in the city remain standing.

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The local water supply is not drinkable, according to NDP premier Rachel Notley, and electricity and gas have been cut off to a significant portion of Fort McMurray. As of Sunday, the city remained under an evacuation order.

Asked if he had any concerns about the state of readiness in the city ahead of the fire and the actions of the provincial and federal governments, Jean said now is not the time to talk politics.

“This is not the time, nor the place. I’m going to save that for a later time,” he said.

“I think the government of Alberta and the government of Canada are going to step up to the plate in a significant way … Fort McMurray has been very good to Alberta and the rest of Canada and it’s so good to see Canada come to our help when we need it.”

Watch the full interview with Brian Jean above.