‘You don’t know if your home is still standing’: Fort McMurray man’s house, workplace submerged amid flooding

Click to play video: 'Where exactly flooding is happening in Fort McMurray, Alta.' Where exactly flooding is happening in Fort McMurray, Alta.
WATCH ABOVE: Breanna Karstens-Smith shows on a map exactly what areas in Fort McMurray are being flooded due to ice jams on the Clearwater and Athabasca rivers. – Apr 29, 2020

Fort McMurray resident, Andrew Wall, is still coming to terms with Monday’s flooding.

A resident of the city for the last six years, Wall said his townhouse and workplace have both been impacted by the disaster, and he isn’t sure yet just how severe the damage will be.

“It’s a pretty big mess down there,” Wall said Wednesday.

“We’ve been playing close attention to aerial footage and pictures posted by others, but we haven’t physically seen our residence.

“It’s certainly traumatic. You don’t know if your home is still standing, you don’t know when you’ll be able to return home — and of course, all of your personal belongings and things you hold dear to yourself may never be seen again.”

READ MORE: Evacuation orders issued as rising rivers threaten Fort McMurray

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Although the city has only been his permanent home for six years, Wall said he’s worked in the area for more than two decades and added that Monday’s flood isn’t the only disaster he’s had to weather.

“I’ve seen a lot — the good, the bad and the ugly. But this is, of course, the second natural disaster and it’s pretty unfortunate at this point.”

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray residents deal with deadly flooding from ice jams' Fort McMurray residents deal with deadly flooding from ice jams
Fort McMurray residents deal with deadly flooding from ice jams – Apr 29, 2020

Wall said he remembers the day he was forced to evacuate his home due to the wildfires in 2016. Wall’s home sustained minimal damage from the fires, and he’s crossing his fingers for a similar outcome the second time around.

“We’re anticipating a fairly large loss but we’re optimistic for minimal.”

“In both situations, we were blessed with the ability to receive minimal troubles getting away, and hopefully, fingers crossed, minimal damages.”

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READ MORE: 1 person dead amid flooding in northern Alberta

Wall said the evacuation process for the floods was more “organized” than that for the fires and added that he feels grateful to have escaped both disasters unscathed.

“We waited it out as long as we could which luckily allowed us to pack a couple of things,” he said.

“We had the sheriff’s department and firefighters coming around and knocking on doors, and then at the last minute it was mandatory and we were able to get out, without incident, on our own power.

Click to play video: 'Kenney calls Alberta floods ‘heartbreaking’' Kenney calls Alberta floods ‘heartbreaking’
Kenney calls Alberta floods ‘heartbreaking’ – Apr 28, 2020

Wall is now staying in Timberlea, a neighbourhood in Fort McMurray that Wall said is on higher ground. He added that while supplies are limited in the area, so far, he has everything he needs to weather this storm.

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“It was the same as the toilet paper situation with the COVID-19 outbreak, and now it’s water and excessive grocery hoarding,” Wall said.

“But we’ve got an adequate supply of water, a few groceries and toiletries.”

READ MORE: Brian Jean says Fort McMurray will bounce back after losing rebuilt home to flood: ‘All this stuff can be replaced’

Wall also hails from Nova Scotia and said it’s been especially hard because he knows several people both affected and killed in the recent mass shooting there.

He said he’s relying on his family and friends to help support him through this difficult time.

“You almost feel selfish because amid this whole COVID pandemic, when you run into a tragedy like that as well as a disaster like this, you kind of feel selfish thinking about yourself,” he said.

“I’m personally lucky to have a social circle that’s very large and I’m being well taken care of.”

Wall added that he’s glad to see everyone coming together to help their fellow Canadians during this time of need.

“We’re taking it in stride and we’re putting our faith in the government and the first responders that are trying to remedy this issue.”

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Click to play video: 'Lac La Biche welcomes Fort McMurray evacuees' Lac La Biche welcomes Fort McMurray evacuees
Lac La Biche welcomes Fort McMurray evacuees – Apr 29, 2020

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