Emotional video of sacrifice and loss in Fort Mac quickly goes viral
For four days, Country 93.3 morning host Pete Potipcoe had been running on adrenaline, dutifully reporting information and updates to the residents of Fort McMurray and the surrounding areas as the Alberta wildfires began invading industrial complexes and subdivisions.
Then came an email that shook him to the core.
“I’d been a machine to that point, trying to keep information – and be positive – to try to keep everyone going,” Potipcoe said Friday. “When that one came through it finally shook me to the core enough that I realized how much has been affected and how many people in our community are losing everything.”
The email came from a friend of Potipcoe’s, whose sister had recently died in a car crash on Highway 881. She asked him to thank the volunteer firefighters for sacrificing their own homes to save hers as the fires entered her neighbourhood.
“She wanted to know if I could reach out and tell people what an amazing sacrifice the volunteer firefighters and emergency services did that night by letting their own homes burn to the ground so that they could save her home so her family could have memories of her sister.”
Potimco posted a video to Facebook describing the incident. It quickly went viral.
“How do you start thanking them?” Potipcoe asks of the firefighters. “How do you even begin that?”
He says that while thousands of people are fleeing the town of 60,000, hundreds of people are staying behind to save as much as they can.
“They could have got out, but they decided to stay back and try to save our city. It’s an unbelievably selfless act on their part.”