Christian Oberegger was in Week 5 of his firefighter recruit training when he got the call.
“We weren’t really set. We had wildland gear so I got out with a water pack and went into Beacon Hill and tried to put out a shed fire with a little water pack here… I thought I was going to get it, but we didn’t get it.”
Ed Grainger was at the gym downtown.
“I remember thinking about Slave Lake and thinking about how insane that might have been. And then thinking about what would happen to our city, not fully understanding what was going to happen. And then it just showed up. Like it was out of a movie.”
Ryan Pitchers had just started a day shift.
“I had parts of my crew running around with garden houses putting out fence fires and deck fires as we were fighting the big house fires,” he said. “Everybody had the duty to do what they could to save what they could.”
One year later, these men sat down with Global News to talk about some of the memories that stand out from that day and the wave of emotion that followed in the days, weeks and months after the wildfire.
Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage to mark one year since the Fort McMurray wildfire
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.