Fire destroys two buildings on Sumac Road

Lower Similkameen family fortunate to escape after fire burns two building on their Sumac Road farm

Sumac Road resident Craig Erikson surveys the wreckage of his family's home after a fire early Saturday morning.

A domestic dispute between two departing farmworkers cost Craig and Angie Erikson their Sumac Road home on Saturday morning.

Vicious flames, fanned by strong northwest winds, destroyed a storage building with second floor accommodations in addition to Erikson’s main residence. A bonfire, set by one of two farmworkers got out of hand early Saturday morning on the property, which is located in the South Similkameen, about 15 kilometres south of Cawston.

The farmworkers, a female from France and a male from the U.S. who were sharing accommodations, had earned their final paycheques and were preparing to return to the States Saturday.

“John was apparently drinking on Friday night. The two got into a fight and she threw him out,” said Craig Erikson Monday morning. Erikson’s family had been out participating in family activities in Penticton Friday evening, returning to their home around 9 p.m.

“He got cold outside, and started a fire,” Erikson continued, pointing to a sparse grove of blackened pine trees near the burned out building.

“He passed out, and when he woke up, the building was on fire.”

Not only was the farmworker’s building burning by then, but so was Erikson’s home, which just happened to be directly in line with strong winds that began earlier Friday evening.

Erikson credits the worker for warning the family if five, who all managed to escape, including the family pets. The female farmworker also got out of her building safely.

 

With strong, gusty winds pushing the  temperatures to minus 15 Celsius and lower, there wasn’t anything Erikson could do.

“I spent about a half hour running around before I realized I couldn’t save anything,” he said, noting that $60,000 worth of this summer’s crop of squash, which was located in the lower portion of the workers’ accommodaitons,  was destroyed. The family didn’t have time to save much from the house, which was filled with smoke by the time they were awakened, sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. Erikson said they were able to grab their cell phones and personal identification before fleeing the house.

 

“Everyone is safe, that’s the main thing,” Erikson said, “I’m really just thankful the kids are all okay, and that we all made it out.”

The Eriksons put in more than 2,500 hours and $30,000 into renovations to their home last fall.

“We had just spent thousands of hours and dollars fixing it up the way we wanted,” he said.

The family has insurance.

Monday morning, the Erikson’s three pet dogs lounged idly near the driveway, seemingly oblivious to Friday night’s disaster.

“We lost  one dog for a day, and the cat disappeared for two days, but they’re back. We were worried that the dog might have gone back into the fire.”

Erikson said the family would hopefully not have to seek accommodation elsewhere, as the property contained two other buildings that could be made habitable. He was busy preparing one of those buildings for his family Monday morning.

 

Just Posted

Police seek Hedley prowler

Mischief takes place at night

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Neighbours ‘save the day’ when Jeep starts on fire

Damage could have been much worse if neighbours hadn’t pitched into help with Jeep fire in Keremeos

Okanagan wineries back to business as usual

“It’s business as usual,” said Jeff Harder, owner of the Lake Country winery, Friday morning.

Region takes a leading role in film

Okanagan Film Commission shines in 2017

The 2018 B.C. Games wrap up in Kamloops

The B.C. Winter Games comes to a close after a weekend of fun and excitment

B.C. boosts support for former youth in government care

More support coming for rent, child care and health care while they go back to school

Luna Fest issues callout for artist submissions

Festival’s art installations transform downtown Revelstoke in the fall

Concert-goers unfazed by Hedley sexual misconduct allegations

Frontman Jacob Hoggard thanked fans from the ‘bottom of our hearts’ at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre

Robinson Crusoe+Friday sails into Penticton

Children’s Showcase presents Axis Theatre’s take on the classic tale

Curtain falls on Revelstoke Glacier Challenge

Annual slo-pitch tournament had been running for 30 years

Original B.C. Games participant-turned-sensei officiating 39 years later

Langley judo sensei was a competitor at the inaugural B.C. Winter Games 40 years ago

Snowfall warning, travel advisory in effect for Coquihalla

Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt to receive 10 to 20 cm of snow Sunday

Police watchdog probes B.C. man’s taser death in alleged parental child abduction

Independent Investigations Office called in after one male dies

Most Read