BCHL billet home in flames

A family in Merritt who billet three players from the local BCHL team are picking up the pieces after their home burned down on the weekend.

Rich and Jessica Culbertson, daughter Emily and three Merritt Centennials players awoke to their home on Coldwater Avenue burning at about 6 a.m. on Saturday.

They all escaped unscathed before the flames gutted the home.

"A kind neighbour invited them inside his home, provided them with clothes, shoes and shelter, while reality began to set in. They lost everything," Merritt resident Sheree Simon said online about the incident.

Simon created a GoFundMe page on Tuesday to help the Culbertson family and the three Cents players get back on their feet.

The online fundraiser raised more than $10,600 in its first full day.

The tragedy was a stark contrast for the Culbertson's after Jessica reportedly won $10,000 at the final Cents home game of the regular season the night before. 

Many current and former Cents players expressed condolences online for the Culbertson's, who have been a billet family for the team for years.

Merritt begins the first round of the playoffs on Thursday, when they hit the road to face the Wenatchee Wild — the BCHL's only American team.

Among many other possessions, the three players billeted in the Culbertson home reportedly lost their passports in last weekend's blaze. 

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