‘Tomorrow it will hit me’: Emotional firefighter describes Port Hills fire fury

Video: Martin Hunter and Ashleigh Monk

Sector chief Phil Crutchley has been one of many firefighters who have worked multiple days in a row to battle the Port Hills blaze.

“Is it day five is it? I’m sorry, it’s just kind of blaring into one. I don’t know what it is anymore,” he said.

He described the exhaustion and low morale among the firefighters in the first few days.

“Yesterday, those days that it kept breaking out? Morale was down, they were going home disheartened because they were feeling like they were letting down the public,” he said.

He described going home the first night at 11pm, feeling like he did not deserve praise from a woman who stopped to thank him.

“[I was] filling up my smoke chaser to go home, this woman came running out and she had bottle of Coke and two cans of V and … I was really touched, she said ‘here you go,  thanks for all that effort you put in’ and I felt like I hadn’t achieved a lot . .”

But when the fire became contained, the mood changed.