Inside the Inferno: A Firefighter's Story of the Brotherhood that Saved Fort McMurray

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An action-packed, on-the-ground memoir of the Fort McMurray wildfire and the courage, resilience, and sacrifice of the firefighters who saved the city.

In May 2016, what began as a remote forest fire quickly became a nightmare for the ninety thousand residents of Fort McMurray. A perfect combination of weather, geography and circumstance created a raging wildfire that devoured everything in its path. Winds drove the flames towards the town, forcing the entire population to evacuate. As the fire swept through neighbourhoods, it fell to the men and women of the fire department to protect the city.

Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Damian Asher was a fifteen-year veteran and captain in the city’s fire department. Day after day, Damian and his crew remained on the front lines of the burning city. As embers rained down around them, they barely slept, pushing their minds and bodies to the brink as they struggled to contain the fire. As he led his crew through the smoke and the flames, Damian had little time to worry about whether the house he had built for his family was still standing. With media unable to get into the locked-down city, the world watched in hope and fear, wondering what was happening on the fiery streets.

Finally, after weeks of battling the wildfire, the firefighters managed to regain control. When the smoke cleared, much of the city had been destroyed. Would things ever be the same? How would the city reunite? What would it take to rebuild life in Fort McMurray?
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About the author

Damian Asher is a captain in the Fort McMurray Fire Department. A fifteen-year veteran, Damian is charged with protecting not only the city but also the lives of the men and women around him. In his spare time, Damian works as a contractor, building homes by hand. He lives in Fort McMurray with his wife and two children.

Omar Mouallem is a National Magazine Award–winning writer who lives in Edmonton. His work has appeared in many publications, including Wired, the Guardian, and Reader’s Digest. He also sits on the board of LitFest, Canada’s nonfiction book festival, and Eighteen Bridges magazine.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Apr 20, 2017
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781501171147
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Nature / Natural Disasters
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Timothy Egan
Michael J. Tougias
The true story of an incredible disaster and heroic rescue at sea told by two masterful storytellers.

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.

In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.

The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.

The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival.

Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle—and a testament to their bravery—that any came home to tell their tales at all.

Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman have seamlessly woven together their extensive research and firsthand interviews to create an unforgettable tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.
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