Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Town hosting flood evacuees

Fort Frances is hosting 64 residents of Attawapiskat First Nation, who had to evacuate their community due to flooding and sewer back-ups.
The first plane of evacuees arrived at Fort Frances Airport at 3 p.m. on Saturday, with a second Dash 8 arriving at 5:20 p.m. that day.

A third group of individuals, who had been in Thunder Bay but were transferred here to be reunited with family members, flew in yesterday.
The evacuees are staying at the Adventure Inn.
The Red Cross is taking care of registration while the town is keeping tabs on logistics, Fire Chief Frank Sheppard said this morning.
Chief Sheppard spoke to Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) this morning, which is indicating the water levels still are holding at a high level.
Additionally, there has been a lot of household damage from sewage overflow and sewage back-up into the homes, he noted.
“[EMO] has indicated to us that these folks could be evacuated for as much as four to six weeks,” Chief Sheppard said.
“Now whether or not they’ll be here for that entire time is hard to say.
“They may make a decision to try and get them a little bit closer—that’s between [EMO] and the home community,” he explained.
“The chief and council will make a determination if they have to move them closer.”
In a twist of fate, the hosting of the evacuees coincides with it being “Emergency Preparedness Week” in the Town of Fort Frances, noted Chief Sheppard.
“So we’re having the opportunity to actually practice some of our skills and techniques,” he remarked.
In recognition of “Emergency Preparedness Week,” the Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service will host an open house this Saturday (May 18) from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the fire hall.
Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be available.
“We’d very much enjoy it if people would come down and visit us,” said Chief Sheppard.

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