Red Deer Country volunteers hard at work in Canmore

Red Deer County volunteers have put their training to work helping shore up flood-damaged homes in Canmore.

Red Deer County volunteers have put their training to work helping shore up flood-damaged homes in Canmore.

Assistant county manager Ric Henderson said the 12-strong group has been working since Tuesday in the Coyote Creek area, where a torrent of water swept down washing away backyards and laying bare foundations of homes.

“There’s a whole stretch of them that (where) basically a lot of them were undercut from the water,” he said in a phone interview from the scene late Wednesday afternoon. “The foundations are damaged and some of the structures have dropped off their foundations.”

Henderson, as well as nine members of the county’s Technical Rescue Task Force and two county firefighters, have been assessing the damage with structural engineers before reinforcing homes with wood shoring.

“Basically, (we’re) making it secure enough so people can go in and get their belongings out,” he said. “It’s not a permanent fix by any means.”

In some cases, residents with firefighter escorts can only go into a portion of their homes. A couple of houses are so badly damaged their owners won’t be allowed inside for some time.

Henderson said the county is working with Canmore’s fire department. The chief there knows Henderson through a national organization known as Canada’s Task Force 2 and was well aware of the county team’s capabilities.

Their skills that have been fine tuned for years at training sessions in Texas, and last year in Great Britain, said Henderson.

About a dozen homes were assessed and made sound enough to enter by the Canmore and county volunteers on Wednesday during a 12-hour shift that started about 8 a.m., he said.

There is one more home they plan to work on early today before heading back to Red Deer.

The City of Red Deer is also ready to lend a hand. Several building and gas safety code officers are on standby and may head south next week to lend their services.

Paul Holmes, city inspections, enforcement and building supervisor, said they are waiting for word from the province on when and where they are needed.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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