WINNIPEG —; Manitoba pipe fitter, Francois Gauthier remembers how he felt when a hand written poem was passed to him at Ruth Lake Lodge, before the threat of flames forced him and his fellow workers to evacuate Friday.
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“I got pretty emotional,” said Gauthier, a Winnipeg resident who arrived in Alberta on April 5 to work at the camp just 19 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
‘The flames and the smoke, confused, terrified faces. Videos on Facebook, of totally devastated places,’ one paragraph describes in the poem.
Gauthier said he knows very little about Victor Hollett, the man who wrote it; just that copies were handed out at the front desk of the camp.
“My heart just went out to the people of Fort Mac. They not only lost their houses, but they lost their jobs on top of that,” said Gauthier.
“I couldn’t imagine that.”
Poem penned by Fort McMurray fire evacuee brings wave of emotion over oil workers Francois Gauthier
Poem penned by Fort McMurray fire evacuee brings wave of emotion over oil workers
Gauthier was guided out in a 50 vehicle convoy Friday morning, but unlike permanent residents, he was able to head straight home to Winnipeg and reconnect with family. While he works in various locations, like many, the devastation will affect the work he gets.
“I can’t see myself going back to Fort Mac for quite a while.”
Hollett wraps the poem with a plea for the weather to cooperate, and help bring an end to the tragic fires.
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‘Let’s hope it’s soon over, but the memory will remain. Just keep the prayers coming, Alberta needs some rain.’