Uncertain future for man and dog who were displaced by wildfire west of Vernon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions


Vernon News

Uncertain future for man and dog who were displaced by wildfire west of Vernon

Richard Gazzara and his dog Alfie lost their home to the White Rock Lake wildfire on July 31
Image Credit: contributed
August 12, 2021 - 6:30 AM

Richard Gazzara and his dog Alfie have been living out of a tent at the O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon since they were displaced by the White Rock Lake wildfire on July 31.

The travel trailer and camper van they called home were destroyed when the flames reached their property along Whiteman Creek Road west of Vernon.

He's waiting until it's safe to return.

“I’ll just be going up there to see what’s left of the situation,” he said. “I had some other vehicles there – some for parts, some were broken down. Hopefully I can get them hauled away later on when the smoke settles, so to speak.”

Gazzara has been living at the same location for at least 12 years, and until he sees the damage, he hasn’t decided if he plans to return to the same site or not.

“I may end up moving back down with some friends I was living with before.”

His place was situated in a crevice, and when the time came to evacuate, the smoke was so thick Gazzara said he could barely see 20 feet in front of him. He was able to evacuate himself and Alfie in his “little Ford F-150,” which he still has at the ranch.

“It’s been not too bad here at O’Keefe Ranch,” he said, adding that he has an air mattress to sleep on. “Some other people are here from the fire too, and it is a little hot out here.”

He said Alfie is “doing pretty good out here,” but “I gotta keep him separate from other dogs and people, he was abused so he’s kind of a one-man dog. I couldn’t leave him with the SPCA because of that.”

Gazzara has been feeling disoriented since he became displaced, “so it’s kind of hard, my mind goes from one thought to another, they’re all over the place some days. Some days it’s a little more peaceful living.”

He said it’s a matter of accepting the situation.

A friend of Gazzara set up a Gofundme page to help him and his dog.

“Any donation would be so greatly appreciated to help get this very kind man back on his feet,” organizer Angela McNair said on the page.

Money raised will help Gazzara “acquire a used travel trailer – a place to call home again – and replace all of the items that he lost. Or the alternative option of someone graciously donating a used travel trailer for him, would be amazing.”

READ MORE: Fundraiser launched for retiree who lost home in White Rock Lake wildfire

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021

  • Popular vernon News
  • This $2.5M Kelowna industrial site could be yours for $116K at city tax sale
    Each year cities and towns throughout B.C. advertise properties for sale for unpaid taxes. The sales have to happen on the last Monday of September. Back in 2019, the most expensive house in
  • Charcuterie processing plant gets smoking in Kamloops
    A Kamloops butcher shop and deli is expanding to create a charcuterie processing plant earlier this month, and four full time staff are busy making sausage, and drying, curing, and smoking a varie
  • TRENDING NOW: Bear finds lost GoPro and makes a video
    %%nodefaultimage%% Dylan Schilt was blown away when he found a GoPro in the snow someone had lost while snowmobiling. He charged it, turned it on and couldn't believe what he saw.
  • Pot plants being pilfered from backyards in Kamloops
    Some Kamloops residents on the North Shore have reported their backyard cannabis plants have been stolen during the night over the past few weeks. Ken Davidson said his plants were stolen tw
  • Penticton man paralyzed for second time
    A Penticton family is slowly coming to terms with a serious illness after Nelson Vokey became paralyzed from the neck down on Sept. 12 hours after the vibrations from a golf swing caused or a
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile