'Seeing is believing': B.C. fire-zone photos show what's left at Loon Lake
Residents find closure and some relief as evidence emerges of how their properties have fared
For 10 days, Linda Lennox has been waiting by a phone and her computer, desperate for news about the resort she and her husband Kevin own on Loon Lake, a picturesque waterfront community northwest of Kamloops, B.C., that was in the direct path of the wildfire.
The built-up stress and anxiety eased Tuesday night when she opened her Facebook account and noticed that she was tagged in a post.
"I was gobsmacked, just in disbelief," said Lennox, who is staying in Mission, B.C., with relatives.
Through tears, she recalled how she and Kevin dreamed of owning a resort. They purchased Marigold five years ago and invested their life savings in the property.
When the Loon Lake area was put on evacuation alert on July 9, Lennox left the resort but her husband, a volunteer firefighter, stayed behind as long as he could to try to fend off the advancing flames.
There were a few pictures taken of the inferno, but with little other information, there has been rampant rumours and speculation.
"'It is very difficult to not know, you are in the middle of this firestorm and no one can get an answer," said Lennox.
Even worse, after the fire she saw what turned out to be an inaccurate post online that said the Marigold was gone.
Lack of information
In first few days, there was little official information while crews worked to contain the fire.
Officials had said that in addition to the fire hall, some of the 376 properties around the lake had been destroyed. Distraught residents wanted to know which ones.
After carefully studying a few of the cellphone photos posted online, Allen believes the cabin burned down, but the home is still standing.
Still he wanted confirmation, and he wanted to help the other residents who still had no idea about the fate of their properties.
"It has been a horrible couple of days. Just the urge to come up here was intense. It's been consuming me," said Allen.
When he got into the community, Allen took dozens of photos that he posted online Tuesday evening.
His images show homes and buildings still standing, including the Marigold Resort.
It was his image that brought Linda Lennox so much relief.
Official confirmation on the way
Officials with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District say a preliminary assessment of the damage at Loon Lake was completed Tuesday night.
There is not yet a tally of the number of properties destroyed, but the district will contact residents over the next few days, to let them know the status of their property.