Miracle no one badly hurt in Lakeland storm: Fire Chief

By Glenn Hicks
July 7, 2018 - 11:00am Updated: July 7, 2018 - 12:17pm

The chief of the Lakeland Fire Department says it’s a miracle no one was badly hurt in the huge storm that ripped through the region late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

What’s being termed a plough storm or cloudburst destroyed hundreds of trees with driving rain, wind, and hail. There were also reports of isolated powerful storms causing damage in the Debden and Ahtahkakoop areas.

“You expect the worst, but to come out of a storm of this magnitude without any serious injuries, it’s quite amazing,” Fire Chief Chris McShannock told paNOW mid-morning after his eight-hour stint with crews and various emergency agencies. “We lost count of the trees down after about 600.”

McShannock said crews from various agencies, including public works and private logging contractors, were still working on clearing away the mass of debris to get people out of their homes.

The Blue Heron campground was a key priority in terms of ensuring everyone was accounted for and crews finished that task in about forty minutes, explained McShannock.

“We had to go in by foot with chainsaws; we had to cut our way through to get access to the campground," he said. "I’d like to thank everyone who helped. RCMP, Parkland Ambulance, Emergency Social Services, public works,  even some of the people from the campground helped, so it was a very good, collaborative effort."

McShannock said his crew of over 20 would be getting some much-needed rest but would be out again Saturday afternoon to continue their efforts.

He added the area was open to the travelling public, but noted campers should check with the Blue Heron site for availability before heading there.


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