“The devastation was something I’ve never seen before.”
WINNIPEG – They helped the people of Alberta during the devastating fires that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray.
Today, 65 Manitoba RCMP officers were awarded the province’s highest honour – the Order of the Buffalo Hunt.
What one officer saw there will stay with him forever.
Corporal Glen Binda says driving through Fort McMurray’s deserted neighbourhoods in the early aftermath of the fire was like an eerie scene out of a movie.
“You would see tricycles. People had their garbage out. Obviously it was just a regular day for them before the fire came through and everybody evacuated,” he said.
Binda and his fellow officers worked checkpoints in the fire zone, keeping people out of dangerous areas. He says one day the fire flared out, and they found themselves working alongside firefighters.
“We had helicopters flying over our heads, firefighters beside us. It was something I’ve never seen before and hopefully I don’t have to see again,” he said.
Other officers took over the Wood Buffalo/Fort McMurray RCMP detachment, helping those still in the area and keeping evacuated neighbourhoods secure.
Binda says it’s hard to describe to friends and family some of the striking images he saw.
“It was really weird because in one spot, houses, cars were all burnt and 10 feet over, a car is sitting there – it looks like someone parked the car there afterwards. That was really different to see how the fire would jump in a very short area and some people, their cars were perfectly fine, and the next car is burnt, nothing left,” he said.
The order is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding skills in the areas of leadership, service and community commitment.