The heroic actions of emergency crews in the frightening early days of the May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire have been honoured with the renaming of a roadway.
While tens of thousands of people were forced to flee the massive wildfire due to a mandatory evacuation order, many first responders — including firefighters, EMS, RCMP, Sheriffs and Bylaw Enforcement — stayed behind to battle the beast and keep the northern Alberta community safe.
On Friday, signs officially renaming a portion of King Street as “Responders Way” were unveiled at an on-site ceremony in Fort McMurray.
The renamed portion includes the bridge over Highway 63 where firefighters and other first responders welcomed home residents one month later. Firefighters, paramedics, police officers and RCMP stood on top of the bridge, waving to motorists and holding signs.
Drivers honked their horns in response to the emotional display of support.
WATCH ABOVE: One of the most memorable images of the Fort McMurray re-entry was the bridge welcoming residents home. Fletcher Kent has the story behind the ‘Welcome Bridge.”
“Our first responders ensured that we got out safely and had a community to which we could return,” Mayor Melissa Blake said.
“‘Responders Way’ is a powerful symbol and reminder of the incredible courage and bravery that we witnessed in 2016.”
— RMWB (@RMWoodBuffalo) March 10, 2017
First responders helped an estimated 88,000 people safely get out the city during two mandatory evacuations on May 3 and 4, 2016. No one died in the fire, but two evacuees were killed in a collision while headed south on Highway 881.
“The effort made by those frontline responders was absolutely heroic, incredible and amazing and they have my complete respect,” Wood Buffalo RCMP Supt. Lorna Dicks said.
Premier Rachel Notley announced Oct. 26, 2016 that the King Street overpass would be renamed to honour first responders.
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