December 30, 2013 - 3:28 PM
PENTICTON - A cot is a poor replacement for the couch Kelly Walker lost in a fire earlier this month. He would have preferred sleeping on a hotel room's bed for Christmas Day instead of being forced by circumstances to accept a space at a Penticton shelter.
The 53-year-old had his rented trailer on 665 Beechcroft Ave., Cawston gutted by flames and smoke on Dec. 19. He lost his belongings, his identification, his cat and whatever money he had. The top of his head and a part of his back were burned when he tried to re-enter the trailer for his pet, Pugsley the kitty. He was slightly seared by flames when he opened one of the trailer's doors. He stepped back outside and doesn't know what became of the animal.
"I was sleeping and I just woke up. It was really smoky and there were flames right at the door," he said. "I was trying to get back in to get my cat."
Calls to the Keremeos Fire Department were not returned by the time this story was published.
Without a home Walker was given a free motel room but he left after several days. He is on disability but he hasn't contacted Service B.C. yet to tell them where to send his cheques. He also couldn't remember the name of the motel he stayed at or where it was located. He has some family in Penticton but he said they have their own responsibilities.
His new place to sleep is a cot at the Salvation Army's Compass House but he needs to be out of the home at certain times. He spent the holidays there but he said it was enjoyable. He even got a digital watch.
These days he spends part of his time walking around Penticton's downtown when he's not at Compass House. He sometimes stops for water at a coffee shop. He said his niece has explained to him he has to wait until late January for a resolution regarding the fire. He said he would rather stay at a hotel until he finds a more permanent place to live.
He has been in contact a medical social worker since the fire. An attempt was made to contact Brennan but there was no response before this story was published.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at email@example.com, call 250-488-3065, send tweets to @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013