There’s a little bundle of happy news in the midst of the cleanup of the fire-ravaged northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray.
The first baby has been born at the local hospital since 90,000 people were evacuated from the region due to a wildfire on May 3.
Eli Danny Roy Mercer was born to Melissa Taylor and Steven Mercer at 5:02 a.m. on Friday morning, weighing in at six pounds and seven ounces.
David Matear of the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre says staff are thrilled to see things returning to normal.
He says both staff and contracted personnel have “been working incredibly hard” to return the hospital and other health facilities back to full service.
Taylor says she’s grateful to have been able to deliver her second child home in her community.
“It was the deciding factor for us to come home, knowing that the hospital was back up and running,” she says. “I didn’t want to have my baby anywhere else.”
The hospital’s emergency room, lab and diagnostic imaging services returned on June 1 while other core services started up again on June 13.
It is expected to be back to full service by next Tuesday, and long-term care patients will begin returning on Thursday.
While almost everyone else is being told they can return to the city, Alberta Health Services is still recommending people requiring dialysis, receiving cancer treatment or experiencing pregnancy complications wait until next week.