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Evacuated Tantallon, N.S., residents return to see what's left of homes

Several dozen families gathered outside the Canada Games Center on Friday to be taken to see the destruction of their homes and neighbourhood in Tantallon.

Halifax Regional Municipality provided four transit buses that drove around areas that Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency found did not have a fire risk.

“We are just going to drive them through some of the areas so they can get an assessment of the damage,” said Cathie O’Toole, CAO of Halifax Regional Municipality.

The families going to see their properties were informed in advance that their home is either significantly damaged or destroyed and would not be allowed to leave the bus.

Mary and Jason Young had to leave their home on Kata Court in Upper Tantallon just a few days ago.

While they knew their home was no longer standing, seeing it in person was gut-wrenching.

“It’s one thing to see it on a screen, but it’s different seeing it in real life in front of you. It helps you move on. It really is like grieving a memory,” said Mary.

Neighbours who they have known for years joined them to see the wildfire’s aftermath.

Jason said, together, they mourned the loss of the neighbourhood they once knew.

“Lots of people that are emotional and some people lost pets in the fire. We didn’t. We have our girls with us and our two dogs but when you about others that aren’t as fortunate, it’s heartbreaking.”

While many were eager to see what remained of their homes, Jody Stuart was among some who were not ready.

“My property is gone. Everything is gone. House, cars, garage, everything. This is what I got,” said Stuart as he pointed to his daughter and truck.

Stuart learned he lost his home through pictures and videos of the fire.

He said he is going to see what’s left of his property with his family.

“A drive-by wouldn’t really cut what I need to do there.”

Stuart hopes to rebuild his home once he’s able to return to the site.

However, O’Toole said it could take some time before families can return to their neighbours.

“The properties individually are not safe. There’s a lot of work to do to make sure there’s no physical safety hazards, fire safety hazards or environmental safety hazards. Once a property is destroyed by fire, there’s a lot of toxicity.” Top Stories

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