BC Coroner Service Confirms 2 Deaths in Litton Wildfire
The BC Coroner Service has confirmed that earlier this week, a rapidly spreading wildfire destroyed most of the village of Lytton, killing two people.
In a written statement, the service stated that the investigation is still ongoing, but the preliminary findings are consistent with the description Reported by family membersJeff Chapman told CBC News earlier this week that he saw a wire fall into the trench that his parents avoided after the flames engulfed their home. After the fire passed, he said he saw their bodies.
The BC Coroner Service said it has not received any other reports of fire-related deaths. But officials said that some people are still missing, largely due to the hasty evacuation of the village on Wednesday night.
Chris Manso, a media relations officer for the Provincial RCMP, confirmed that investigators were able to enter the village on Saturday.
According to the provincial information officer of the Wildfire Service of British Columbia, investigators including the RCMP assessed whether the village is safe to enter on Saturday morning.
“Many of the town’s infrastructure was also affected by the fire, which may cause difficulties in entering the area,” Jean Strong said.
At a media briefing on Friday, Padbrach of the British Columbia Emergency Management Agency said that toxic smoke from building fires is the main obstacle preventing officials and investigators from entering.
More than 1,000 people fled
More than 1,000 people fled Lytton and surrounding areas on Wednesday, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are trying to find the missing people.
The province said on Thursday that the damage included “most of the houses” and buildings in the village, as well as the local ambulance station and RCMP detachment. The local councillor said that 90% of the people in the village are gone.
Disaster financial aid Can be used in areas affected by wildfires. Urban officials and indigenous communities can request funds to pay for damaged public infrastructure (such as bridges and roads) not covered by insurance.
Watch | The wildfire triggered an evacuation order for the residents of Litton:
Jade Baxter, a resident of Lytton, said the community is sad and scared.
Since the fire destroyed the village, Baxter said she has been working in the nearby Skupa Indian Band office, open to people who need food and shelter.
Baxter told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “Here, we can only do what we can: write down the name of the person who stays.”
Austin Doyle and his daughter said that when they saw smoke from a distance, they were listing their property for sale in Lytton.
“We just took action and set up sprinklers,” Doyle said. “We started to soak everything.”
Doyle said he wanted to help protect the building and the valuables left by his tenants outside.
“If this is just our house, we might let it burn,” he said. “But it’s not our stuff, but our other tenant…he will lose all his photos and things.”
Doyle said that because he rented the property to others, he made sure to trim the grass around the house and remove any possible fuel this spring.
With a clear exit plan, Doyle said that he and his daughter never worry about their lives, but now they leave the community and there is still a lot of uncertainty about what is left of their house.
“We really want to know what it is. It is safe and will not be robbed by…”
Anyone who receives an evacuation order must leave the area immediately.
Evacuation centers have been set up at the following locations to help anyone evacuating from communities threatened by wildfires:
- Castlegar: Castlegar Community Complex, 2101 6th Ave.
- Chilliwack: Chilliwack High School, 46363 Yale Road.
- Kelowna: Salvation Army, 1480 Sutherland Avenue.
- Merritt: Merritt Civic Center, 1950 Mamette Ave.
Encourage evacuees to Emergency Support Service Online, regardless of whether they receive services in an evacuation center.
Those looking for a loved one can call the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 for family reunification services.