Princeton, BC –
Mario Loutef had had little sleep in the four days to Saturday, when he piled up his ruined belongings on the street outside his home in Princeton, BC.
A large swath of downtown in the community two hours south of Kamloops was devastated when the Tulameen River overflowed, flooding homes and forcing people to evacuate.
The community remains on evacuation alert but for many, like Loutef, the damage couldn’t have been worse.
“It turned a corner and then it was like a tsunami because it flooded the small roads on the way here. But once they’re taken care of it’s time for the water to take care of my space and the others on the road,” he told The Canadian Press.
A layer of black mud covered everything on the first floor of the house. Loutef has been working around the clock since he was granted access. The boards have been ripped from the wall, a dirty line about 2m in the wall shows how high the water is..
“I’ve lost everything. We’ve lost everything, my wife and I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where it will end,” said Loutef, who has lived in the house for the past four years.
“I’m trying to save my tools, which are my bread and butter, because without it, I can’t make any revenue. I’m pretty much in the pun intended… sloppy. “
Streets in the area are closed to vehicular traffic. Suction trucks are trying to suck up standing water in some basements. The streets and sidewalks were covered in mud.
Loutef, who is working alone, said: “It was like a one-on-one battle.
“I remember my wife saying, ‘Don’t forget to take off your shoes,’ so I’ll have to show her. She doesn’t want to come down here because she’s going through a shock. She also said no smoking in the house,” he said, flicking his ash on the floor.
Piles of debris could be seen everywhere, but Lisa Brosseau and her husband Brian Quinn asked friends to help.
Brosseau said that although their basement was flooded, she feels lucky that a previous owner raised the house after flooding 35 years ago.
“We had a new Airbnb suite and it’s gone, but the rest of our house is fine. It never tops. We have our house. A lot of people around here don’t and that’s really hard,” said Brosseau.
Quinn pointed out where the water got into the basement.
“You could see it go down the back door and blow open the door and rip the doorframe, and inside it swirled like some kind of vortex, and everything was rolled up and crumbled,” Quinn said, pointing at him. Basement.
“The power of water is unbelievable.”
Brosseau said she was worried about flooding despite her efforts to pack sandbags and watch her fears pass.
“We were right down the street and there was an explosion and a landing and it spilled over the banks,” she said.
Many of the residents of Princeton went from house to house to help those not so fortunate.
Britanny Antonick said: “Our town is amazing.
“It is cruel. I think now is still just all shock. All basements are completely saturated. We’re just trying to do the best we can. ”
This Canadian Press report was first published on November 21, 2021.