Slave Lake opens to essential businesses [photos]

A giant Canadian flag waves from the end of a fire ladder Thursday afternoon at the entrance to Slave Lake. Residents and businesses will be allowed to return to town beginiing at 8 a.m. Friday morning - Stephen Dafoe Photo

Hardip Gill of the Mac’s Convenience Store on 100 Street loads a truck bound for Slave Lake Thursday morning. The local convenience store sent some of their supplies to help get the chain's Slave Lake store up and running ahead of the return of residents Friday. The Morinville Chamber is hoping local businesses will make an effort to adopt a Slave Lake business in the same industry to get back on their feet.
Photos by Stephen Dafoe

Slave Lake – Businesses deemed essential services were allowed to return to Slave Lake Thursday to clean up their shops ahead of the full return of Slave Lake’s residents and business community Friday. RCMP presence was strong at a checkpoint road block outside the town. Those who were not on a preapproved list were not permitted entry to the community.

While fire destroyed a number of the community’s businesses, like residential destruction, burned out businesses can be found in the midst of stores and shops that remained completely untouched by the fire.

But even those shops untouched by the flaming tongue of the wildfire will have substantial work ahead. With electricity off for many days, Alberta Health Service notices can be found on the doors of all food establishments, alerting owners and customers an inspection must be completed before the shops can be opened.

One Slave Lake convenience store filled a dumpster Thursday morning with product that had thawed after the devastation. Countless hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory has spoiled in the communities still-locked stores.

Residents were permitted to return to the community Friday morning in two stages – 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Below is a photo gallery of the devastation to Slave Lake’s business community as well as some photos of the efforts to get the community’s business community on its feet again.

Photo Gallery

Click on a thumbnail image to see full picture, then use arrow keys or scroll wheel to navigate through images.

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