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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The true story behind the events that inspired the major motion picture Only the Brave.

A "unique and bracing" (Booklist) first-person account by the sole survivor of Arizona's disastrous 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, which took the lives of 19 "hotshots"--firefighters trained specifically to battle wildfires.

Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their leader, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the unit, and perhaps seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough, and the chance paid off. Despite the crew's skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh's firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.

Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough--"Donut" as he'd been dubbed by his team--served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.

Granite Mountain is a gripping memoir that traces McDonough's story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very men who had saved him. A harrowing and redemptive tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, Granite Mountain is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm's way to protect us every day.
Try it. Right now. Picture the lights going off in the room you're sitting in. The computer, the air conditioning, phones, everything. Then the people, every last person in your building, on the street outside, the entire neighborhood, vanished. With them go all noises: chitchat, coughs, cars, and that wordless, almost impalpable hum of a city. And animals: no dogs, no birds, not even a cricket's legs rubbing together, not even a smell. Now bump it up to 95 degrees. Turn your radio on and listen to 80 percent of your city drowning. You're almost there. Only twenty-eight days to go.

Joshua Clark never left New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, choosing instead to band together with fellow holdouts in the French Quarter, pooling resources and volunteering energy in an effort to save the city they loved. When Katrina hit, Clark, a key correspondent for National Public Radio during the storm, immediately began to record hundreds of hours of conversations with its victims, not only in the city but throughout the Gulf: the devastated poor and rich alike; rescue workers from around the country; reporters; local characters who could exist nowhere else but New Orleans; politicians; the woman Clark loved, in a relationship ravaged by the storm. Their voices resound throughout this memoir of a unique and little-known moment of anarchy and chaos, of heartbreaking kindness and incomprehensible anguish, of mercy and madness as only America could deliver it.

Paying homage to the emotional power of Joan Didion, the journalistic authority of Norman Mailer, and the gonzo irreverence of Tom Wolfe, Joshua Clark takes us through the experiences of loss and renewal, resilience and hope, in a city unlike any other. With lyrical sympathy, humility, and humor, Heart Like Water marks an astonishing and important national debut.

A portion of the author's royalties from this book will go to the Katrina Arts Relief and Emergency Support (KARES) fund, which supports New Orleans-area writers affected by the storm.Visit www.NewOrleansLiteraryInstitute.com to find out how to make a direct and positive impact on the region.
Where is your faith today—first sparks of faith, bright blue flames, radiating heat, raging bonfire, red-hot coals, cooling embers, cold grey ashes? Is your love for God burning so brightly that you are consumed by its passion? Are those who surround you drawn to its radiance and warmed by its heat? Are sparks flying from you, spreading a wildfire faith that ignites passion in others?

Or has your passion cooled, your light dimmed, or your fire been quenched?

Throughout history God has chosen fire to represent his awesome power, his judgment and wrath, his protection, and his Shekinah glory: the flaming sword guarding Eden, the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the fiery furnace, the chariot of fire, the burning coal, the flame upon the altar, the lake of fire, and the flaming eyes of the Son of Man upon the throne—these are only a few of the images he has seared into our minds that we might know him more fully.

God is the source of that first flicker that sparked your faith and one day you will stand in his holy presence, look into the flaming eyes of Jesus, and see his burning love for you face to face. But between that first flicker and that heavenly meeting, there is life to be lived on this earth. The challenge we all face is that life can dim our fire or even quench it, whether by the soggy mist of the mundane, or the quenching downpour of crisis.

Carol Kent has discovered that God’s Word is filled with the secrets of nurturing his fire in our lives, sometimes painfully so, other times even undetected, refining, purifying, cauterizing, healing, and ultimately reshaping us into the image of his Son.

Author and speaker Carol Kent will take you into God’s word, and into your own story, to reveal the true power of the fire God has placed in you, to fan the flames of your faith, stir your passion, and embolden you to spark wildfires that will spread to forever change the landscape of this world beyond your wildest imagination.

God’s fire is in your life. Fan the flames. Burn brightly. Start a wildfire!

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