Peachland volunteers help begin rebuild in fire-ravaged town of Lytton | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Peachland volunteers help begin rebuild in fire-ravaged town of Lytton

Volunteers included Bette Johnston, Phyllis O’Connell, Murray Johnston, Keith Nixon, Wes Bedford, Don Muir, Marvin O’Connell, and Jeff Walker shown top to bottom and left to right).
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Tricia Thorpe
September 25, 2021 - 7:30 AM

Fire season is over and that means many people have moved, but not in Lytton. 

As they continue to re-build, one couple who lost their home to the devastating Lytton Creek wildfire this summer got help rebuilding their barn from new friends in Peachland, earlier this month.

Tricia Thorpe and Don Glasgow are living at a friend's house on the outskirts of Lytton with what remains of their livestock. She said they have been busy trying to rebuild what was lost.

"The fire was horrific, you can't imagine it," Tricia said. "We lost our home and property. We lost our cats and dogs, peacocks, goats and chickens. The whole place was levelled in minutes, we were unable to help anyone or rescue our animals."

READ MORE:  Village of Lytton responds to devastating fire

The couple were evacuated to Kelowna, where they were later informed some of their sheep, puppies and an alpaca had survived and returned home as soon they were able. Thorpe said the town is currently very quiet.

“We got Hydro back but I still don’t think there is phone service up the valley,” she said. “Lytton got the internet up right away. I’m not sure about the water in town itself, but we are not to drink it in outlying areas. Nothing has moved. So many residents are still not home, they are living elsewhere. We are lucky we had a friend who still had a house for us to use.”

Lytton resident Tricia Thorpe rebuilding in the wake of the Lytton Creek wildfire.
Lytton resident Tricia Thorpe rebuilding in the wake of the Lytton Creek wildfire.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Tricia Thorpe

Earlier this month a group of volunteers made the trip to Lytton to help the couple build a barn as cold winter temperatures are approaching.

Jeff Walker, of Peachland, is a journeyman carpenter who made the trip to lend his skills to the project. He has lived in Peachland since 1992 and has been in the construction industry for most of his life.

“I have known some of the other volunteers for years,” he said. “One of them called me and invited me to the project, and then we all drove up there to help the couple out."

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Lytton Creek wildfire destroys structures, home northwest of Merritt

Walker said the building materials were supplied by the couple who had already done some of the work ahead of time. He said it was a quick, weekend trip and many skilled hands were involved.

“We had some mechanically inclined volunteers who did the cutting, as well as an electrician,” he said. “Some wives did some cooking and supplied us with premade lunches, while the couple made us meals and put us up for two nights in a house they are borrowing from friends.”

The post and beam style building is designed for animals and includes six stalls and a shed roof, with a back wall sheeted in with metal donated by a neighbour.

The site is located across the main bridge in Botany Valley. Walker said the volunteers had to drive through the town to get there.

“The town is decimated,” Walker said. “We couldn’t enter Lytton from the typical end. We had to go further and enter from the south side. It looks black. It looks like a war zone. Everything is just gone.”

Walker said the power lines have been restored and the gas station is operating, but there is very little movement in the town and very few people there. Walker said the experience of helping was a positive one.

“The weather was awesome, clear and warm,” he said. “It felt good to be with a group of friendly people and look back and see the project coming together. It was great quality because we had expertise in the group and the couple we were helping were very supportive.”

Walker said he has participated on volunteer builds in the past and would like to do more.

Thorpe said she and her husband are very thankful for the volunteers.

“We are forever grateful and there is always a seat at our table and a place to stay,” she said. “I am seeing people being amazing and I have nothing but good things to say about individuals. People have shown us incredible kindness offering to help.”

READ MORE: New social gathering place open to community of Lytton

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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