August 26, 2013 - 5:44 PM
NARAMATA - Selling T-shirts commemorating the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire for charity brought back memories for the Naramata Volunteer Fire Department.
Acting fire chief Tony Trovao was at last Saturday's Downtown Penticton Market selling the black and green T-shirts and sharing stories with visitors. One was an Australian firefighter who was in town to watch his son compete in the Challenge Penticton triathlon. Others were parents of Ontario fire chiefs who wanted to bring some T-shirts back home to give to their adult children.
Trovao didn't need a T-shirt to jog his memory. He was a Naramata fire captain at the time the 2003 blaze made its mark. It destroyed 25,900 hectares and 238 homes and firefighters from across Canada and the U.S. poured in to put out the flames.
Trovao and a 25-volunteer crew worked eight weeks round-the-clock with other firefighters to keep the wall of flame from burning Naramata. The flames got as close as Chute Lake Lodge and nine to 10 kilometres distant north-east of the village.
The Naramata team evacuated Indian Rock, set up sprinkler systems in the Glen Fir zone and created a backfire. The preparations worked and the fire stopped advancing on the homes of 2,000 Naramata residents.
The Okanagan fire T-shirt commemorates the battle and names 27 fire departments who participated. Trovao said nearly a quarter of their fundraising goal of $5,000 has been met. Some of the proceeds will go to the Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society which works with children with physical and mental disabilities. The rest will go towards a $75,000 bill to dredge themarina for the firefighters rescue craft.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013