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A new place to call home

by Amy Bunton
July 4, 2016

Community investment, Employee volunteering

​In the summer of 2015, wildfires took their toll across B.C. and the communities of Rock Creek and Westbridge endured the worst of the devastation. Approximately 18,000 acres of land were destroyed and officials have calculated the fires caused in the tens of millions of dollars in property damage.

We often think about the heroic work being done by first responders during disasters. Many FortisBC employees were among those helping to restore power and maintain safety during the fires. Michael Ankerman, FortisBC apprentice power line technician, was one of our crew members working long, hard hours in hot, dust-filled conditions in Rock Creek. 

"When we initially responded to the fire, we were simply cutting off the power so the firefighters could get their crews in, do their work and fight the fire as best as possible," Michael remembered. "Most of the ground was still smoldering while were trying to make the scene safe for them by cutting off as many sources or power as we could. After that, it was about rebuilding the power line so the people of Rock Creek and adjoining communities could move back into their homes."

Not everyone was lucky enough to move back into their homes once power was restored. The fire destroyed 31 homes and many other structures such as barns, shops and machinery. 

Every Canadian family deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home. Habitat for Humanity Canada’s goal is to make that dream a reality. The organization works to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

On June 4, a group of FortisBC employees and their families, including Michael, teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild a family's home that was lost to the fire. The group spent the day installing insulation, soffits, fascia and helped with cleaning up the site. 

"After seeing the absolute devastation the fires caused in the community last year, coming back this year has been an awesome experience. It's great to see not only how the community has rebuilt itself but how nature has rebuilt as well. It's nice to see Rock Creek with green grass. It’s a very happy feeling," explained Michael. 

FortisBC sees giving back as an important part of creating a sustainable future for British Columbians. Employees are encouraged to become actively involved in their communities through volunteering their time and energy towards making local communities a bright place. FortisBC has contributed $3,000 and employees have donated hours of their personal time to help Habitat for Humanity move towards their goal of ensuring that everyone has a safe and decent place to call home.  For more information on how you can get involved, visit

Learn more about how FortisBC gives back to the communities in which we live and work.