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Fatal fire not arson

RCMP and Kamloops fire investigators have determined that a fire that claimed the life of a Kamloops woman and her dog was not suspicious.

An examination of the fire scene on Grant Road on Tuesday was completed by the RCMP and Kamloops Fire Rescue. 

"Based on the evidence uncovered, the fire is not believed to be arson. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation," said Kamloops RCMP Capt. Jodi Shelkie.

"The BC Coroner Service is also investigating this death, and the Kamloops RCMP will continue to provide support with their investigation."

Fire victim identified

The woman was identified as Fiona France on a GoFundMe page set up to help her family cope with the financial burden.

According to friend Brianne Gair, who started the fundraiser, France had three children, including one who was living with her at the time of the fire. France's dog Oreo, was also lost in the fire.

"I decided to start this page in hopes of easing the financial burden the family will experience from the cost of a funeral and whatever other expenses they may face during this very devastating time," wrote Gair.

Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie told Castanet "the female who was pulled from the house fire on Grant Road yesterday, July 15, has succumbed to her injuries."

— With files from Rob Gibson, and Kamloops Matters



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Fire victim identified

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

After an early morning fire claimed the life of a Kamloops woman, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help her family cope with the financial burden.

The fundraising page identifies the deceased woman as Fiona France.

According to friend Brianne Gair, who started the fundraiser, France had three children, including one who was living with her at the time of the fire. France's dog Oreo, was also apparently lost in the fire.

"I decided to start this page in hopes of easing the financial burden the family will experience from the cost of a funeral and whatever other expenses they may face during this very devastating time," writes Gair.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and it has been deemed suspicious by Kamloops RCMP.

– Kamloops Matters


ORIGINAL: 8:30 a.m.

A fire at a Kamloops home has claimed the life of the woman who was pulled from the blaze by rescue teams.

Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie tells Castanet, "the female who was pulled from the house fire on Grant Road yesterday, July 15, has succumbed to her injuries."  

Fire Investigators with Kamloops Fire Rescue and the RCMP,  will be back on the scene today with the assistance of the RCMP Forensic Investigation Section, to examine the scene.

Shelkie says, "It is unknown how long this investigation will be or when the results of the investigation will be available."

The youth who were taken into custody yesterday have been released. It is unclear if they were involved in the fire.

If anyone has any information about this fire they are asked to contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.



60 thefts from cars in week

If you were wondering whether there have been a lot of thefts from vehicles in Kamloops recently, you would be right.

And it appears that it's happening all over town.

Kamloops RCMP released maps of 60 thefts from vehicles last week. On top of the incidents indicated on the maps, there were also two in Valleyview, one in Bachelor Heights, three in Westsyde and one in Noble Creek, said Kamloops RCMP Media Relations Officer Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.



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Shtuka documentary posted

Contributed

A documentary that tells the story of a missing Alberta man who went missing from Sun Peaks resort has been uploaded to YouTube.

Ryan Shtuka, 20, was last seen leaving a house party on Burfield Drive at Sun Peaks early in the morning on Feb. 17. His residence was just one kilometre away but he vanished.

The search for Ryan has touched many people across the world and a Facebook group with almost 30,000 people keep searching for Ryan.

Film doc on disappearance 

Mom dreams of missing son

The documentary is called Peaks and Valleys: The Search for Ryan Shtuka, and was produced as part of the Telus Storyhive series.

"It’s overwhelming, it's unbearable, to be honest," his mother, Heather Shtuka, told Castanet shortly after her son went missing.



Woman pulled from fire

A fire at a Kamloops home has sent a woman to hospital in critical condition.

Police and Kamloops Fire Rescue were alerted to the flames about 3:40 a.m. When they got to the scene on Grant Road in the Westsyde neighbourhood, the mobile home was fully engulfed.

Firefighters were able to extricate the woman, and she was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police on the scene took two youth into custody. It is uncertain at this time if they are involved with the fire, though it is considered suspicious. Fire investigators are on the scene.

Anyone who saw anything is asked to call police at 250-828-3000. 



Indigenous teachers boosted

Thompson Rivers University is expanding its Bachelor of Education program by 16 seats in September to help address a shortage of Indigenous teachers in the province.

"Indigenous students are empowered when they see themselves reflected in their teachers, and all students benefit when diversity is embraced and exemplified in their classrooms," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

"By investing in future Indigenous educators and role models we are working alongside Indigenous nations to answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action in the Thompson region and throughout B.C."

The expansion to TRU’s Bachelor of Education Program is possible through a broader initiative announced by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in June that will invest $2.7 million in Indigenous teacher education training across B.C.

This investment is in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 62, which called upon governments to fund post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into the classroom.

"TRU is pleased to offer this opportunity to Indigenous students. We know that inequities and under-representation exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in many ways, including in education, and this is one step forward in addressing this issue," said Brett Fairbairn, president and vice-chancellor at TRU.

TRU is receiving $340,000 for the Indigenous education seats, which will see students enter the two-year Bachelor of Education program in September along with other students. An Elder and a mentor will support Indigenous students as they progress through the program, with the guidance of Roxane Letterlough of the St’at’imc Nation as cohort co-ordinator and instructor.

In addition to the Indigenous education seats, TRU is one of eight institutions receiving $50,000 to help integrate Indigenous knowledge and culture into B.C.’s education curriculum. To this end, TRU will be working collaboratively with School District 73 officials on curriculum development and related initiatives.

Individuals interested in enrolling in TRU’s Bachelor of Education program, and/or have questions specific to enrolling in the Indigenous education seats can contact TRU’s education advising office by email, [email protected].



Flight in cool old warbird

If you missed the Flying Legends of Victory Tour stop in Kamloops, one YouTuber has offered a glimpse into what was seen.

Adam V posted a video sharing the experience of going up in the B-17G bomber 'Sentimental Journey.'

In the video, he narrates, giving some history of the plane over video and photography as it tours over Kamloops, with shots of golf courses, McArthur Island and the river valley.

There are also shots of the inside of the plane as it flies, with the gaping middle section looking straight down to the ground below when the doors are open. 



Highland Games a real fling

The Kamloops Highland Games attracted hundreds of participants, competitors and fans on Saturday.

The games included dancers, pipe bands and heavy events such as the caber toss and hammer throwing.

Competitors came from across B.C. and Alberta.

Alex McAra, who won the light hammer event in the open men's division with a final toss of over 107 feet (a personal record) travelled from Edmonton.

"I've been joining the Vancouver Island throwers, and they've been going around, so I've tagging along," he said. "My dad threw back in the day and I did shot put, and it was kind of a nice transition from there."

"This is fantastic, it's so much fun."



Beware battery thieves

Kamloops RCMP are warning locals to mark their travel trailer batteries with some form of identification.

This following "numerous reports" of such thefts, police said a news release. 

"In most of the cases, the strap holding the battery on the trailer was cut," says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie. "It is believed the thieves take the batteries to recycling centres for recycling (return) fees."

Police recommend placing a driver's licence number on the batteries and making sure they're secured to the trailer. 

"Further preventative measures include parking your trailer in a well-lit and open area," says Shelkie. 



$1M to help wildfire risk

More than $1 million in grants will help reduce wildfire risks in the Kamloops Fire Centre region.

The B.C. government announced on Thursday a further $1,059,199 in Community Resiliency Investment program grants to 11 local governments and First Nations communities in the Kamloops Fire Centre to support wildfire risk reduction projects.

The grants are part of a second round of 44 grants distributed provincewide and are in addition to more than $6 million provided to 85 communities in May.

"The last two summers have shown the need for better preparation in advance of wildfire seasons," said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. "To help keep people and communities as safe as possible, it's more important than ever that we invest in programs that reduce the risk."

The grant recipients include:

  • Regional District of Central Okanagan: $30,000 to assist with planning.
  • Regional District of North Okanagan: $100,000 to assist with education and fuel and vegetation management.
  • District of Logan Lake: $152,712 to assist with fuel and vegetation management.
  • City of Vernon: $58,200 to assist with fuel and vegetation management.
  • City of West Kelowna: $100,000 to assist with fuel and vegetation management.
  • District of Sicamous: $99,540 to assist with education, planning and fuel and vegetation management.
  • Lower Similkameen Indian Band: $100,000 to assist with planning, fuel and vegetation management, and FireSmart activities for private land.
  • Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band: $98,000 to assist with education, planning, emergency planning, cross-training and fuel and vegetation management.
  • Adams Lake Indian Band: $20,820 to assist with fuel and vegetation management.
  • Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band: $199,927 to assist with education, planning and fuel and vegetation management.
  • Simpcw First Nation: $100,000 to assist with education and fuel and vegetation management.

Eligible communities can apply for grants of up to $25,000 for those facing a lower fire risk, while those facing a demonstrated higher wildfire risk can apply for up to $150,000.



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