Village of Lytton responds to devastating fire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Village of Lytton responds to devastating fire

Lytton Chinese History Museum burnt to the ground.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Lytton Chinese History Museum
July 06, 2021 - 8:59 PM

The Village of Lytton has responded for the first time since the devastating June 30 fire that destroyed most of the town. 

In a press release this evening, the unsigned release describes how the situation unfolded, what is happening now and how it's supporting residents. The Village needed time to prepare the statement, in part because the town's Emergency Operations Centre was destroyed, along with the Village office building. 

Residents are soon going to get a look at what's left. Here's how the release described that day. 

"Thank you all for your patience while we have sorted through incoming information and confirmed facts about the state of our Village. In the days ahead, we will be releasing information to residents and the media on a more regular basis as we are able and new facts come to light.

This is what we can tell you. Village staff were alerted when someone banged on the office windows after hours. Staff immediately contacted the Mayor, Jan Polderman, and the Lytton Volunteer Fire Department Fire Hall and found our firefighters were already battling fires.

The Mayor quickly reached out to several contacts to attempt to confirm the severity of the fire. He also called 911 and was informed that the local RCMP were already evacuating residents on Fraser Street. The Mayor immediately contacted the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (“TNRD”) to let them know that he was ordering a full evacuation.

Due to drought conditions for several months, everything was extremely dry and a very brisk wind was blowing at the time. These conditions allowed the fire to tear rapidly into and then through our Village. Once it was established in the area of town closest to the river and homes there were burning, it spread east across the streets with ferocious speed.

A few buildings survived in town but nearly every home in the centre of the Village is gone. Where many buildings stood is now simply charred earth; it is going to take in-person assessments to determine the actual state the damage. Fortunately, some homes east across the highway were spared but are currently without electricity, sewer or water.

There have been several injuries and two confirmed fatalities. Out of respect to the families of our lost, we will not discuss their tragedy. We want everyone to know that their bravery was incredible in the face of this unimaginable horror.

Much of the information we have received has been in general terms and we hope to clarify the exact state of things soon. This will depend on the Incident Management Team Commander’s decision on the safety of the site.

There are no services at this time. Hydro, water and sewer are not available; though we have been fortunate that our sewage treatment building did not burn, it is non-functional at this time. We are trying to ascertain if our watershed has been contaminated by retardant and what sort of physical state it is in. This will require testing and an in-depth on-site assessment.

Infrastructure has been destroyed. What has not been melted, incinerated or damaged beyond repair has been compromised to the point of being unsafe. For those looking at heartbreaking pictures of our Village, please understand that if a wall is standing, it does not mean there is anything on the other side of it."

Click here for the full release

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 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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