B.C. wildfires: Stranger saves disabled man from Lytton fire
Warning: Some details in this story may be disturbing for readers
CHILLIWACK, B.C. -- Fire evacuation centres in parts of B.C. are becoming increasingly busy, as people who’ve lost everything, look to put a roof over their heads.
More survivors from Lytton arrived in Chilliwack Friday, many were covered in soot with just the clothes on their backs. The evacuation centre is about 3.5 hours from the village recently devastated by a massive fire.
They’ve experienced unthinkable tragedy, but are grateful to be alive.
Pierre Quevillon narrowly escaped the raging fire, but had to leave some of his pets behind.
“I was on the phone with somebody and she said the town's on fire," Quevillon told CTV News Vancouver. "I said, ‘Are you serious?’ So I just got up from the couch and when I opened the back door, the police was over there. He said, ‘Get out of there!”
He loaded his two dogs into his truck and went inside his house to look for his cat.
When he returned, he was faced with thick yellow smoke.
“I turned around and I couldn't see my truck. In a matter of seconds, my truck was on fire with my dogs and I couldn't breathe. It got so intense,” Quevillon told CTV News.
He was forced to leave the dogs behind and flee on foot, carrying his cat.
“I was running and running and I'm a disabled person, so I don't run fast. But I was running fast,” he said.
“The fire was right behind me, because the smoke was coming.”
The wind picked up, and just as he was running out of hope, a stranger pulled up behind him.
“I went as far as I could and finally somebody picked me up and got me out of there. A few minutes after, the whole town was gone,” said Quevillon.
He was able to borrow a truck and drive to the Chilliwack evacuation centre, but he says the images of his dogs and other pets in the neighbourhood burning, are seared into his mind.
“I feel bad for the animals because my neighbor had a dog and a cat that burned in the trailer. So there's lots of animals that didn't make it,” he said through tears.
Quevillon's friend spent the night sleeping in the village’s graveyard until it was safe to walk out of the fire zone.
The pair was able to meet up and drive to Chilliwack on Friday.
“It's not that I'm strong. I'm trying to be strong because I got a friend who needs help. So I'm over here for him. Me, I can always survive,” said Quevillon.
There are currently evacuation centres up and running in Castlegar, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Merritt.
They’re available to anyone who’s been evacuated from their primary residence.
Those who have lost their homes will be the first priority.
Fraser Valley tourism associations are accepting donations for evacuees like clothes and food at visitor centres.
All evacuees are being reminded to register with the province online, even if they do not require support.