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As Fort McMurray burns, Alberta businesses step up

Around 1,600 structures have been lost to the fire, and officials say it is possible a substantial chunk of the city could be damaged

May 4, 2016

by Elizabeth Hames

Photo: Mike Allen

Photo: Mike Allen

Alberta’s business community is stepping up to help residents of Fort McMurray, offering fuel, food and lodging to those who were forced to flee as an intense wildfire bore down on the northern Alberta community.

As many as 80,000 people are on the move after the winds around Fort McMurray shifted, pushing a wildfire into municipal boundaries and prompting the largest evacuation in the history of the province. So far, 1,600 structures have been destroyed, and Scott Long with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency says it is a possibility a large portion of the city could be lost to the fire.

With so many people leaving the city yesterday, lineups quickly formed at the few gas stations between Fort McMurray and Edmonton, with reports of some customers waiting more than an hour for a fill-up. Many vehicles simply ran out of fuel as they waited in traffic jams on southbound highways, or when gas stations inevitably ran dry.

That prompted some companies to head north with trucks loaded with fuel for stranded drivers.

HHS Contracting is bringing fuel to drivers stranded en route from Fort McMurray.

AFD Petroleum also sent fuel trucks up to the fire zone this morning.

Oil sands operators such as Royal Dutch Shell Canada have opened their work camps to the roughly 10,000 people who were on the north side of the fire when the evacuation order was issued.

Hotels are offering up rooms at reduced rates or at no charge. (Edmonton Economic Development Corporation has compiled a complete list.) Northlands in Edmonton has opened up space for evacuees. Airbnb has activated its disaster response tool to connect evacuees with homeowners offering up a free room.

The fire moved quickly, and evacuees had little time to prepare. Many were only able to grab a few items before heading out on the road, and businesses have stepped in to offer free meals or other services. Here are a few of the businesses that have jumped in to help.

Alberta businesses offering support to Fort McMurray

Skyline Living is offering 60 units to evacuees.

WestJet has been ferrying supplies into and evacuees out of the Fort McMurray area.

London Drugs is driving a trailer full of medical supplies and personal products to evacuees in need.

Federated Co-Op is donating $100,000 to relief efforts.

MKT Beer Market in Edmonton is donating $2 to relief efforts from every Wood Buffalo sold.

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce is collection donations directly through local chambers for a relief fund to support the Fort McMurray business community.

Savvis in Edmonton is offering workspace and tech support to evacuees.

Aurora Cannabis is donating $4 on every gram purchased to Red Cross.

Maple’s Doghouse in Edmonton is welcoming pets of Fort McMurray.

West Edmonton Mall attractions are free for all Fort McMurray residents on May 5.

Shell Canada is providing fuel to first responders and its emergency response teams are on the ground in Fort McMurray supporting fire crews.

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation is donating $100,000 to the Red Cross.

Suncor is donating $150,000 to the Red Cross and matching donations by employees.

Edmonton-based web developer Tooq has built a website to connect evacuees in need of accommodation with volunteers offering up a bed.

Central Social Hall in downtown Edmonton is offering a free meal to Fort McMurray residents until Sunday.

Stony Mountain Waste is providing bins at Anzac Recreation Centre.

Businesses can temporarily backup their servers for free through Cybera.

Imperial Oil is donating $100,000 to the Red Cross.

Telus World of Science in Edmonton is offering free admission to evacuees.

Urban Vision in Edmonton is donating prescription glasses to those affected by the Fort McMurray fire.

Allstars Playland in Edmonton is providing free admission to Fort McMurray residents until Sunday, as well as free admission for those who make a cash donation to the Red Cross.

Place for Your Stuff in St. Albert is providing free storage for evacuees.

Mainstreet Equity is offering the first three months free on 100 apartments to evacuees.

Telus is waving all additional cal and text charges for the next two weeks.

ATB Financial will offer emergency overdraft protection, increased credit limits and loan payment deferrals to customers in need, depending on circumstances.

Servus Credit Union is donating $100,000 to the Red Cross.

TD is also donating $100,000 to the Red Cross and offering advice and assistance to evacuees on deferrals, and relief on fees.

Shaw Communications is opening up Shaw Go Wi-Fi to everyone north of Edmonton.

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is offering free office space for businesses displaced by the fire.

U-Haul offering 30 days of free storage to residents of Fort McMurray.

Fountain Tire at 8550 Yellowhead Trail in Edmonton is repairing tires of Fort McMurray residents for free.

Moxie’s is donating free meals to Fort McMurray residents at its Edmonton restaurants.

Albert’s Restaurant in Edmonton is serving free breakfast to Fort McMurray residents on Thursday, May 5.

Delux Burger Bar in Edmonton is serving free burgers and drinks to Fort McMurray residents.

O’Byrnes Irish Pub in Edmonton is serving up free beer and/or food to evacuees.

The Pint in Edmonton is offering free meals to the people of Fort McMurray.

Kinnikinnick Foods in Edmonton says it will help people with food allergies get what they need.

Earls is also offering free sandwiches to Fort McMurray residents at its Edmonton restaurants, and it is donating profits from steak sales to the Red Cross.

Love Pizza in Edmonton is giving away pizza and drinks to Fort McMurray residents.

Naan-O-Licious is offering free biryani to Fort McMurray residents.

Boston Pizza on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton is serving free pizza to evacuees.

Fiasco Gelato in Calgary is donating every dollar it makes on sales at its cafe today to the Red Cross.

Champion Pet Foods has donated two pallets of dog and cat food to the Edmonton Humane Society.

Tiffurny’s pet store is offering free food for pets of Fort McMurray residents, and discounts on other items.

Irvings Farm Fresh has said it has space for RV as well as livestock.

Pets Plus Us and HomeSafe are offering free access and a lifetime record on the HomeSafe system.
If you’re looking for a way to help, the Alberta government is urging Albertans to donate to the Red Cross.


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13 Responses to As Fort McMurray burns, Alberta businesses step up

  1. Scott Delinger says:

    Cybera is helping #ymm businesses stay online by helping with backups and virtualization:

  2. Mitch says:

    Imperial has donated 100,000 to Red Cross as well. There is also non-Alberta companies as well.

    There is a food company too, will look for it. This page is awesome

  3. Amber says:

    Dragon FX locations at WEM, KINGSWAY, and MILLWOODS TOWNE CENTRE are also taking donations of toiletries, food, clothing, and pet food/supplies.

    If you are needing any of these things, please stop in and we will do our best to help out!

  4. Dan says:

    United rentals took 30,000 litres of gas , water,food and diesel to the highway today to fuel up vehicles and help out !

  5. Jason Hamer says:

    Jeff and Jason here with Rusch Equipment in Red Deer we have a large fuel truck with approximately 15000 Litres of diesel we are willing to donate to assist with the wildfire evacuations. who could we contact to organize getting up to FT Mac area? we are willing to head up the highway with it.

    We also have 6 6X6 Diesel driven water pumps and several kilometers of hose to assist with fire fighting if anyone has a connection of who to contact and if the fire department would like assistance from local companies? We can round up crews and mobilize this equipment as early as tomorrow morning. Is it possible for us to pump out of the Athabasca river into the city anywhere?

    My Cell phone# 403-598-3027

    Hope we can help

  6. Roger says:

    Boston pizza in Millwoods, Ellerslie, and south common.

    Free personalized pizza & pop. Please provide ID.

  7. Tash says:

    I heard Reitmans was also offering 75% off on up too 10 items for evacuees, but haven’t been able to find more info about it. Anyone seen this?

  8. Marshall says:

    RBC made a donation of $100,000 as well to Red Cross

  9. Anna says:

    Servus Credit Union is also assisting it’s Fort Mac members with mortgage and loan payments deferrals and overdraft extensions as well as the $100,000 donation. Members just need to call the 800 number and ask for assistance. Staff province wide are also working in fundraising and encouraging member to donate. Stepping up to help just like they did in Slave Lake and during the June 2013 floods.

  10. Dear fellow citizens of the Great and Grand Province of Alberta:
    It is very early days in terms of beginning the lengthy process of rebuilding the lives of the tens of thousands of our fellow Albertans. In fact, we have not even begun that process. Right now this hour and for many hours and days to come is the time to set aside our own agendas as much as possible and focus in on the needs of those who have been so savagely attacked by the fires in the north.
    Nothing is more important now than working to provide the basics for our Alberta friends: Unlike some of the agencies that are bridled by various policies and procedures that slow or even discourage the process of ‘good old-fashioned helping,’ Albertans are finding direct ways to help. We at Drift and all over the province are seeing Albertans doing this first hand for the last 48 plus hours. It is also encouraging to know that assistance plans are happening all over this great country of ours.
    From Drift’s point of view (as a drop off and pick up centre for the wonderful town of Redwater) we have been witnessing amazing acts of service kindness and generosity. We are honoured and humbled to see some of the amazing things that are being done by people who are not burdened by illogical rules and regulations. Here is what we are seeing. People are dropping off new and used clothing, toys, toiletries, water, food, strollers, towels and anything else that could be of real use. We have received no junk or damaged goods.
    People who have in some cases lost everything are picking up what they need (we have had to insist that some take more). Aside from food water etc. some of the people that we have seen simply need a hug. This is not the forum for displaying heart wrenching stories but can we assure you that we have heard plenty of them. One of the greatest gifts that you can give at this time is to truly listen as they tell you what has happened to them. There has been a great deal of trauma of loss. As fellow citizens we have only just begun to give. This process will grow beyond the basis needs and eventually beyond anything physical. Healing will go on for a long time.
    Governments at all three levels will always do something to assist in times of need but they will never match the gifts that we can all offer, a hug, a tank of gas, an encouraging word, a place to rest, a shower, a bag of treats for the animals we all love. Multiplied a thousand times no agency or gov’t can neither ‘match us’ or even ‘get in the way.’ Not that that is happening anywhere! Nudge nudge wink wink.
    Drift would like to thank all of the people, services and businesses that are helping us to be an effective ‘Drop off’ and ‘Pick up zone.’ It has been and continues to be overwhelming! Thank you all. I will mention the Fire Dept. of Redwater because they are one official agency that appears to be beyond the politics. God Bless all firefighters around this great province.
    Hey! Today I have NEVER been more proud to be an Albertan. Albertans’ Rock! Albertans will help hour- by- hour, day- by- day until every one of our people has been helped. We will never surrender to a fire or any other enemy.
    What a privilege it is to be able to help and comfort others. Please: We need even more donations to be able to help the maximum number of people. We have the room, we have the heart, we have the volunteers and we have no GD bureaucracy. No overhead. Our only agenda is to help as many as fast as possible. Remember Drift (by the Coop Card Lock) TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY. Please donate as you are moved to do so. Remember: This is not a burden. This is a ‘great’ privilege.
    Thank you so much each and every one. Oh and by the way Redwater is “Not off the beaten path.” Another politician got that wrong as well.

    Please share this link for updates.As well as like our page for updates and items needed.

    Here is the direct link to like our page to keep you updated on items needed.