Search continues for B.C. fire chief who may have been swept away in creek

Search for missing B.C. fire chief continues

CACHE CREEK, B.C. — Hope is fading in the search for a missing British Columbia fire chief feared to have been swept away in swollen creek has resumed, the community’s mayor said.

Clayton Cassidy of Cache Creek in B.C.’s Interior disappeared early Friday morning, RCMP said.

He was last known to be checking creek flow levels at a campground east of the village as snowmelt and rain was causing floods in the region.

Mayor John Ranta said Saturday there is still no sign of Cassidy “but we remain cautiously optimistic that he will be found alive, although hope is fading for that.”

Search and rescue crews from Kamloops, Vernon, Pemberton and Ashcroft have been involved in the effort to locate the 59-year-old fire chief.

Waters were still moving very fast Saturday and where water has receded, branches, mud and debris have been left behind.

Heavy machines have been brought in to remove piles of broken wood from the front of the fire hall.

“It’s just a tragedy of epic proportions to have somebody like Clayton Cassidy missing,” Ranta said. 

Cassidy was given a Medal of Good Citizenship by the B.C. government last year for his efforts helping Cache Creek residents during a devastating flood in May 2015.

Premier Christy Clark halted her election campaign to visit the community Saturday morning, meeting with municipal officials and touring the flood zone.

Clark said the disappearance of the fire chief is like having the spark plug missing from the community.

“We will be here to support this community and all of the communities that have been affected … We have their backs. We will be there for them,” she said. 

New Democrat Leader John Horgan also took time from his campaign in Vernon to offer his support and sympathies to Cache Creek residents.

“I have every hope and wish as with all British Columbians that Clayton Cassidy will be found safe, but this is a difficult time for his friends and his family,” said Horgan. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends.” 

Green Leader Andrew Weaver also issued a statement Friday saying he hoped Cassidy is found safe and reminding other residents in the flood regions to take precautions.  

“To all residents in the affected areas, please stay safe and follow evacuation orders,” Weaver said. “Your safety is paramount.”

Clark said crews have transported 30,000 sandbags across the province to support regions under flood advisories and can move tens of thousands more on 12 hours notice.

“Sadly, we have gotten really good at dealing with crises, forest fires, floods in British Columbia,” Clark said. “Our emergency management people are amongst the best in the world. We are going to spare no expense and we are going to move as nimbly and quickly as we can to support people.”

—With files from Dirk Meissner in Vernon.


Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Need to catch up on news? You’re covered

Every Saturday the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

Big White board school among best

Director of snow sports, Josh Foster, is one of the top instructors in Canada

Seniors prefer funeral to lifestyle planning

Survey finds 73% of seniors have a will, only 13% have long-term care plan

Okanagan College business students soar

Medal winners at Western Canadian Business Competition

UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option

Gord Lovegrove says cohousing is sustainable social and economic lifestyle

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

Most Read