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'It was heartbreaking': Okanagan family targeted by thieves after losing home to wildfire

Still coming to grips with losing their home to the McDougall Creek wildfire, a family from B.C.’s Okanagan was dealt yet another blow – being targeted by thieves.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Patrick Lacey.

Lacey, his wife and two children live in Traders Cove. When the McDougall Creek wildfire swept over West Kelowna in August they were among the first to evacuate.

It was an unimaginable déjà vu for the family of four, who were living in an RV next to their nearly finished new home when the fire broke out.

“We had an electrical fire at the house in 2019 when we were at soccer with the kids… our house was a structural loss,” said Lacey.

The family decided to take on their own re-build to create their new dream home. They were in the finishing stages, mere weeks away from final inspections, when the McDougall Creek fire ignited.

When they were finally allowed back they found their home reduced to rubble.

“I’d spent four years and it was all gone in the blink of an eye,” said Lacey.

To add insult to injury, Lacey said this weekend thieves broke into their trailer and stole the family’s wood burning stove.

“My heart sank and as soon as I looked inside I broke down in tears… I’ve cooked a million grilled cheeses on that fireplace and now it’s gone,” Lacey said, overcome with emotion. “It looks like they came up onto the property, had a good look around to see what was salvageable… and they took my wood stove, had a couple smokes, left a pack of smokes in my yard and took all my garbage bags we were using for the cleanup.”

Other Traders Cove residents are reporting looting from homes too, including tools taken from properties.

Lacey said there were also reports thieves tried to take off with a trailer as well.

CTV News reached out to the RCMP, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations and the City of West Kelowna, but has yet to hear back.

The Lacey family is now settling into a rental home while they try to figure out next steps. But as an owner-builder for his new home, Lacey said he wasn’t able to obtain house insurance for the entire construction process, leaving them with nothing.

The community has rallied behind the Laceys with a GoFundMe to help the family re-build.

Lacey said the outpouring of support from community members, the regional district, BC Wildfire Relief Fund and several non-profits has been overwhelming, helping the family on their long road to recovery and trying to rebuild their dream home, yet again. Top Stories


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