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article imageFirefighter's daughter dies in crash fleeing Fort McMurray fire

By Arthur Weinreb     May 7, 2016 in World
Lac La Biche - While her father was fighting the out-of-control fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Emily Ryan and her stepmother's nephew were killed in a fiery crash while escaping the fire that is consuming the area.
One of Emily's triplet sisters perhaps put it best: "It's tragedy, layered on tragedy."
On Wednesday, Emily was travelling in an SUV with her stepmother's nephew, Aaron Hodgson. Both were fleeing the wildfires in Fort McMurray as thousands of others were. The pair were travelling along Highway 881 and according to the RCMP, although there was a lot of traffic, it was moving at highway speeds.
Around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the two were clear from the devastating fire they were driving away from when the SUV hit a tractor-trailer just outside of Lac La Biche. Ryan and Hodgson were declared dead at the scene in what was described as a fiery crash. Smoke could be seen kilometres away. The crash caused the closure of one of only two roads leading out of the devastated community.
Emily's father, Cranley Ryan, is the deputy fire chief in Saprae Creek, located just outside of Fort McMurray and had been fighting the fires in Fort McMurray. He was relieved of his duties after his daughter was killed. Other firefighters, even though their homes might be burning, rushed to the Ryan house to hose it down. They didn't want the family to have memories of Emily destroyed. According to one of her sisters, Emily had a large collection of books and as far as she knows, it is still there.
As soon as her death was announced, tributes came in praising the 15-year-old. Emily was in Grade 9 at Fort McMurray Composite High School and principal Kevin Bergen described Emily as a "vibrant, engaging member of our student body." She loved books and had hoped to become a nurse. She was also described as "outgoing" and "always smiling."
CBS reports this morning, the fire may double in size. So far, more than 80,000 people have left the area and at least 1,600 homes and buildings have been destroyed.
As the Ryan family is scattered, they have not been able to get together to make funeral plans. But they are determined to h old the funeral in Fort McMurray when it becomes possible to do so.
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