Local couple living in Slave Lake flees fire

Masato and Denise Deguchi are shown with their sons Satoshi (left) and Yoshi. -
Masato and Denise Deguchi are shown with their sons Satoshi (left) and Yoshi.
— image credit:

A local couple now living in Slave Lake, Alta. are among the 7,000 people who had to flee the community after wildfires ravaged the area over the weekend.

Barrie Alden of Abbotsford said his daughter, Denise, and her husband, Masato Deguchi, have left their home with their two young boys, ages one and three.

Alden has been unable to talk to the couple, but was relieved to see them on a TV news report that showed the lineup of vehicles leaving Slave Lake.

The family was travelling in their trailer, en route to Edmonton.

“I think they’re OK. They got out, but their house is a total loss, I think,” Alden said.

Denise, who grew up in Mission, and Masato, from Aldergrove, moved to Slave Lake about a year ago.

Masato is a bank manager and was transferred there from his previous job in Nelson, B.C.

Alden said they lived in a subdivision on the outskirts of Slave Lake.

“She (Denise) tried to get me to move to Slave Lake, but I said, ‘I’m not going up there.’ The winters are too cold, and I live in fear of forest fires,” he said.

The couple could not be reached for comment on their cellphone.

The entire town and surrounding areas were evacuated Sunday after wildfires quickly spread due to gusting winds of up to 100 km/h.

As of this afternoon (Monday), one-third of the town had been destroyed or damaged, according to police.

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