Remembering the “Beast”: A Look Back at Sentinel’s Experience during the Fort McMurray Fire

May 3, 2016 is a day we will never forget! The city was engulfed in smoke, as the local news reporters spoke nervously on the radio about a fire that was burning just outside of town.

By mid-afternoon the watch became a full out evacuation. Our staff locked up the office and site, joining the long lines of traffic leaving town.

For the next month, Sentinel’s Head Office communicated to our customers with updates of information as we received them. It was unfathomable that this terrible fire could do so much destruction. We joined the rest of Canada watching the brave first responders work long hours to battle The Beast.

For the first time in over 42 years of being in business, a Sentinel property was unmanned. For a period of time the electricity went out, which rendered our security systems, gates, etc., inoperable. Road blocks controlled all access to the area – which helped secure our property and the 500+ units containing our customers’ property.

On June 4, 2016, Sentinel staff returned to 355 MacAlpine Crescent as part of the phased re-entry. We were astonished at the fantastic condition of the property! Other than a few minor fencing issues, the site was impeccable. Every customer lock was still in place.

This photo was taken when we returned on June 4. So very eerie… The forest is gone from across the road, just a short jump over the highway, yet the site is in fantastic shape. Even the flag survived!

While the fire raged, Sentinel did not collect rents. It was unethical to ask so many displaced customers to pay for a service we were not even sure we could provide. At the beginning of June 2016, the board of directors approved the waiving of over $75,000 in rents for local customers. It was our small part to assist in the recovery of our great northern city.

Even today The Beast seems like a bad nightmare. A huge THANK YOU again to the many first responders who fought so hard, for so many days, against this mighty foe. We salute you, Our Heroes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *