May 20, 2016 5:21 pm
Updated: May 20, 2016 6:24 pm

RCMP dispute claim Mounties were not properly equipped during Fort McMurray fire

An RCMP vehicle at Highway 63 and Highway 881 south of Fort McMurray looks on as plumes of smoke can be seen in the distance hanging over the city. Sunday, May 8, 2016.

Cliff Harris/ Global News

The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada says officers deployed to help during the northern Alberta wildfires weren’t given adequate protection.

The MPPAC says Mounties should have been given military-style gas masks during fire evacuations but were given cheaper commercial masks instead.

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READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: Mounties secure city, prevent intruders from entering

The association says one Mountie was left using a paper dust mask while exposed to smoke for five days.

“In the Beacon Hill area, where I was deployed, we were exposed to a haze of smoke for five days,” the member, who is not named in the MPPAC news release, said. “We were in the thick of it. We were standing in the midst of burning cars, houses, trailers, and watching explosions of man-made products – the fumes can be very carcinogenic. After the first day I was puking and my eyes were burning. All I was wearing was this paper dust mask. I felt light-headed and sick for the next week.”

READ MORE: RCMP say officers won’t enter Fort McMurray homes looking for guns

Insp. Gibson Glavin, spokesperson for Alberta RCMP, issued a statement to Global News Friday:

“All personnel were issued the appropriate and effective respirators as soon as they arrived on scene.”

He said that includes police and support staff.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc

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