He was injured fighting to save other people’s homes, and now a firefighter has been forced out of his own home by the flooding in Merritt.
Dylan Bullock said girlfriend Maria Cihlar had just moved into his house a few days before floodwaters came rushing in Monday, and they had to evacuate the community.
“I have this window above my bed that I had open," he said. "I like to listen to the sound of rain. I woke up at six in the morning and it just sounded different than normal rain. It sounded like bubbling or something, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was dark in the room.
"I turned the lamp on at the side of the bed and holy smokes, there’s a foot and a half of water in the bedroom.”
He waded through the very cold water to turn off the power breaker, then grabbed their wet and frightened cat and got out.
$8,000 worth of photography equipment that Maria uses for her business was damaged, and she is worried two galleries of wedding pictures saved on hard drives in the house might not be salvageable.
They lived on Pine Street, in one of the worst-hit areas of Merritt.
Now the couple is in Kelowna, staying with Maria’s parents, while they wait to hear what comes next. They are waiting to find out when they can get back in to at least see the damage to their home.
Friends and family have set up a Go Fund Me to help them through the disaster.
Dylan posted on Saturday, saying it absolutely breaks his heart and hurts his pride to ask for help a second time in six months.
He told Castanet he was just settling in after being hospitalized for two months.
Dylan suffered burns to his chest, neck, arm and face, while fighting the massive Sparks Lake wildfire northwest of Kamloops in July, and spent time in the intensive care unit at a Vancouver hospital. A GoFundMe was also set up then to help him cover the costs associated with his hospitalization.
The new fundraiser was launched by his mom Meg Deighton, who writes about how this has been an incredibly trying time for Dylan and Maria, who have already been through so much this year.
“We’ve been trying to distract ourselves here. Reading books and watching sports and whatever. Very grateful to have a place to land for a little while. I realize there’s a lot of people in worse situations than we are,” said Dylan.
“We’re humbled by it, and the support, even from my photography community, has just been overwhelming,” added Maria.
The experience is another emotional strain for Dylan, who was not only injured fighting the Sparks Lake fire but had to watch as the Village of Lytton, where he lived for five years, was destroyed by fire in June.
Both he and Maria are urging anyone who wants to help those flooded out of Merritt, or anyone impacted by natural disasters, to donate to individual GoFundMe campaigns, not group ones, because it’s much easier to distribute the money.