West Kelowna  

Family that lost second home in wildfire targeted by thieves

Thieves target fire family

A family that lost their home for the second time in the McDougall Creek wildfire has now been targeted by thieves.

Patrick Lacey contacted Castanet after someone stole the wood stove out of his family’s camper that was parked on blocks outside their fire-ravaged property on Westside Road.

He was driving by the property on Sunday morning when he noticed the damage.

“I drove by and I could see the chimney stack was gone, and then I look and it’s off its jacks sitting on pallets that luckily were there, otherwise it would be tipped over on the road,” said an emotional Lacey, who notes the thieves tore out part of a wall to get at the stove.

It’s the latest blow for the Laceys. They are starting from scratch for the second time after their first house on Westside Road in Traders Cove was completely gutted by fire back in May of 2019.

They had just finished rebuilding when the McDougall Creek fire struck. They had no insurance, and launched a Go Fund Me to help rebuild their lives.

"Unfortunately because I'm an owner-builder, I'm not certified as a contractor. We couldn't get anything (insurance) extended beyond three months. And we looked everywhere. So yeah, we are without insurance, no content insurance, nothing."

"It seems surreal that it's actually happening again, because we fireproofed our property, we cleared everything. We should have just been working on the house trying to finish to get it insured, what a waste of time," Lacey said in an early September interview.

The camper is one of the few items the family has left after the fire, and it plays an integral role in their lives.

“We are devastated to lose a huge part of what we hoped would make for a semi-normal winter for our kids. They only play a couple of sports but both are super passionate about snowboarding and a huge part of that is family lunches cooked on the wood stove.”

Lacey said the the wood stove's theft could be the final straw.

“I felt resilient before but this has just finished my resolve and my faith in humanity is shattered. Who keeps hitting someone who is down?”

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