Edmonton ready to deploy 3 teams to Fort McMurray to begin assessing damage

Edmonton ready to send 3 crews to Fort McMurray as region moves into recovery phase
WATCH ABOVE: David Aitken, branch manager of Community Standards with the City of Edmonton, said three teams are ready to deploy to Fort McMurray to begin to assess the damage.

EDMONTON — The City of Edmonton is ready to send three crews up to Fort McMurray to begin assessing the damage as the region moves from the disaster phase to the recovery phase.

David Aitken, branch manager of Community Standards with the City of Edmonton, said the province has asked those teams to be ready to deploy as soon as Friday.

“We’ve got three teams mobilized with the disciplines of building inspection, gas inspection, electrical inspection that will be deployed by the province in the coming day or the next day. We’re waiting to see,” Aitken said Thursday morning.

“We’re planning to ensure that when we get the call out, which is generally quick… that we are well prepared and we can support those initiatives.”

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Aitken said the exact details of the deployment are not yet known, but it’s likely the crews will make sure houses are safe. Their work will likely focus on identifying and repairing gas, structural and electrical issues.

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“I think the notion is that these various disciplines will look at the different houses and begin that process of identifying houses that are fit for habitation and ones which are damaged and need some additional support and repair,” Aitken said.

“We’ve been told to be ready as soon as tomorrow with rotations of around five to six days up there,” he said. “We’re preparing to have teams go in, do the work and rotate out.”

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On top of these crews, the City of Edmonton still has firefighters on the frontline.

As of Thursday morning, the Fort McMurray wildfire measured 241,000 hectares in size. More than 80,000 people have been forced from their homes. There is not yet a timeline in place for when the evacuees will be allowed to return home.