Cody, his dad Stan, and mother Darlene on the porch of their house which burned down in the Gustafsen fire.

Family home burned to the ground

“It looked like a war zone there”

“When we were evacuated, the cops came to my house, and… Sorry, this is so hard to talk about,” says Cody Bandsma. “Cops came to my house, and I grabbed everything I could. I grabbed picture frames, I grabbed albums. I really didn’t think it was going to go down, so I didn’t grab as much as I should’ve,” said Cody, whose house in 105 Mile House burned down.

“It’s just all a crater. I don’t know really what to say, it just happened really fast,” he says. Cody is currently staying in Kelowna and adds that they had an automotive mechanics shop by the house as well.

Cody’s dad Stan Bandsma was on holidays in the Shuswap at the time.

“Every time I go to think of, I’m gonna go home and grab that thing … it’s not there anymore. I was very well set up. I had 1st Stop Auto and it was all set up very nicely. I had every piece of equipment that I needed to do just about anything. I had everything really nice and neat, I’m very picky. It’s very devastating for me.”

“Cody was at home, my son, and he said ‘What do you want me to do?’ So we gave him a list and he went through and took personal things like pictures and albums and stuff like that. He got the Mustang out of there, my show car, a ‘73 Mustang Fastback; he got that out of there and another car trailer and he got my Bobcat out of there.

“He was just working tirelessly until 10 o’clock that night. Just getting stuff out of there and he didn’t think of himself. He didn’t even take any of his own stuff, no clothes, nothing. No sentimental stuff of his own. He was amazing and he’s taking it very hard. It’s really rough on him. He was pretty much a one-year-old when we got there and we built everything.

“Everything on that property we had built or rebuilt. There was nothing on that property when we got there. He did an amazing job.”

The family found out their place had burned down through a picture on Facebook.

“Someone drove through in the night actually, and showed us a film of him driving through the driveway and it looked like a war zone there. And then someone put a picture in the morning and put it on Facebook at the end of the driveway pointing in and the only thing standing was the 1st Stop Auto Sign,” he says. “Technically, I shouldn’t even know my house is burned down.”

According to Stan, their home is not the only one destroyed.

“There are other houses that are gone in that area too. I know that because I’ve seen pictures, but I don’t want to say who they are.”

Stan was overwhelmed with it all.

“I’ve lost my business, so I have no way to make an income. That was our total income that we had for our family. I have no way of making an income now and then everything else is gone too,” he says. “We’re just gonna hang out in Kelowna I guess; find a hotel or whatever.”

Cody says when they can, they’ll go back as a family.

“Whenever we’re we’re allowed in there, we’re gonna go as a family and we’re gonna try and see what we can recover.”

 

The back of the house with part of the shop visible

The view from the driveway. The only thing that appears to remain is the 1st Stop Auto sign. Submitted photos

The ‘73 Ford Mustang Fastback that Cody managed to save on the lawn in front of their house.

Just Posted

Collision closes Highway 97 in Vernon

Two vehicles involved in crash that has halted traffic

Kelowna woman only Canadian to train in Danish sailing program

A Kelowna sailor compares her life at sea to manning an old… Continue reading

Okanagan Sun juggle coaching staff

Kelowna football club makes a move within its coaching ranks

Kelowna West Libertarian goes after ICBC

Kyle Geronazzo feels B.C. drivers are being “ripped off” by the provincial auto insurer

Kelowna finalists announced for small business awards

The 15th annual Small Business BC Awards will be held Feb. 23

What’s happening

Find out about events happening in your community this weekend

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Letter: Let’s vote for a return to democracy in November.

Letter writer says a coming referendum vote could change the way political power is distributed

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

King’s thrilling tale brought to the Vernon stage

Arts Club Theatre Company presents Misery at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Jan. 30

Most Read