Okanagan Family Rebuilds After Double Disaster Hits Dream Home

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In the beautiful Okanagan region of B.C., the Lacey family, residents of Traders Cove, found themselves wrestling with a cruel twist of fate. Their home, which had been under the threat of the rapidly spreading McDougall Creek wildfire, had turned to dust.

“Devastating,” murmured Patrick Lacey, the family patriarch, his voice choked with emotion. The family of four, living in a RV adjacent to their almost completed house, undeniably reliving a nightmarish past.

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He vividly remembers that fateful day in 2019, when the children were out for soccer practice and their house succumbed to an electrical fire. “Total loss,” he confessed.

Undeterred, the family embarked on the enormous task of rebuilding their dream home, pouring years of effort into its creation. But before they could bask in the glow of their success, nature unleashed its fury. The almost completed house, weeks away from its final approval, became a casualty of the McDougall Creek wildfire.

Upon their return, a pile of ashes greeted them. “Four years of sweat and dreams, gone in the blink of an eye,” said Lacey.

As if fate hadn’t dealt them enough blows, the family’s resilience was further tested when thieves targeted their temporary trailer. The sight of the stolen wood-burning stove left Lacey sobbing. Recalling old memories of countless meals prepared on it, imbued with irreplaceable family moments, it was lost to the thieves’ greed.

He described the intruders’ intrusion into their lives, leaving trails of cigarette packets in their yard. Even their humble garbage bags, perhaps meant for clean-up, weren’t spared. Looting from their immediate neighbours was reported too, with essential tools and trailers being taken away.

Reaching out for help was met with silence from the RCMP, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations and the City of West Kelowna. As the family settles into a rental home and plans their path forward, they face another harsh reality. Being an owner-builder of his former house, Lacey was ineligible for complete insurance during the construction phase, leaving them with nothing.

Yet, in the midst of their despair, hope emerged from their community. A successful GoFundMe campaign was established in the family’s name, drawing overwhelming support from their neighbors, the regional district, BC Wildfire Relief Fund and multiple non-profit organizations. Defying fate once again, the Lacey family, with their community’s solidarity, stands ready to reclaim their lost dream.