Volunteer firefighter forced to knock down homes to save others
Out of a chaotic weekend in Slave Lake, more stories of the efforts crews took to save the Town of Slave Lake are coming to light. One volunteer firefighter says he was forced to make very hard decisions.
One of those was to demolish the homes of as many as ten families, in order to create a fire break, and hopefully save hundreds of homes in the process.
He told CTV News it was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do, but it was for the best.
"The decision was not whose house. The decision was whose houses can we save? It was a huge sacrifice. If I had to give up my houses for other houses I would do that," said Driedger.
As a firefighter on the frontlines during the worst of the wildfire, Driedger says he's confident those actions saved hundreds of homes in Slave Lake.
"If we had not done that we would have had a lot more houses go up. And possibly the rest of the town," he said.
The area where Driedger did most of his work was on 4th St southwest, just east of E.G. Wahlstrom School. Officials could not say exactly which houses were sacrificed, but did reveal that the call made was the right one.
"To spread out their attack would have made them totally ineffective. We are fortunate to say that their efforts saved a few very key pieces of infrastructure including the hospital," said incident commander, Len Maccharles.
And after seeing the wildfire spread, Driedger is surprised there were no injuries or deaths in the blaze.
"No fatalities, wow. Do you believe that?" he said.
Officials say the town remains without power and water Thursday.
With files from Sean Amato