Wildfire in Lytton: How a retired couple rebuilt themselves

Their house was destroyed.

Many of their animals died.

They had lost hope.

But a retired couple from the outskirts of Lytton have found something they didn’t expect after the wildfire destroyed almost everything they had last summer.

They found strength in the community.

“It’s quite humbling, all the help we’ve had from people,” an emotional Don Glasgow said in an interview with CTV News.

This week the couple moved into their new home, rebuilt on their property which was devastated in the wildfire. It is land that has been owned by the Glasgow family since 1952.

“This house is built on love and friendship, nothing else,” said Tricia Thorpe.

Although still under construction, the house was built with donations of money, supplies, and volunteer labor.

“I think we’re the first to rebuild,” Thorpe said.

By comparison, the village of Lytton just started clearing debris this week.

Lytton was mired in complex challenges, including how to clean up the 67% of properties we had uninsured or underinsured. A multimillion-dollar cash injection from the province on Monday proved the only way forward.

But Thorpe and Glasgow found a way forward several months ago when Lytton appeared to stand still.

How did they do it?

“We fell through the cracks of the bureaucracy. We are neither the Village of Lytton nor Lytton First Nations,” Thorpe said.

After evacuation orders for their area were lifted, they said they emailed the Thomson-Nicola Regional District.

“We never really heard back, so we came back and started doing what we had to do,” Thorpe said.

In Lytton, properties require, among other things, archaeological assessment and soil testing. Reconstruction is not expected to begin before September.

This couple did not face the same restrictions or demands.

They also said they weren’t worried about toxicity on their property.

“The shaft is 190 feet deep,” Glasgow said. “I’m sure everything will be fine…all these months and the rains and the winds, I don’t worry about that.”

Meanwhile, they say their house is as fireproof as possible.

“It’s built from insulated concrete formwork, so it’s basically a cement house,” Thorpe explained. “It will be covered with cement panels. Above is a metal roof. It will be metal siding.

The Village of Lytton is also working to ensure that new homes and yards are more fire resistant.

“Five feet around your home will be clear of vegetation so that in the event of a fire, shrubs, trees don’t catch fire and burn your home down,” said Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman.

Although more than eight months have passed since the fire, Thorpe and Glasgow are still pained when they think of the animals they were unable to save.

“The only thing that hurts is the animals,” Glasgow said, choking back tears.

“The rest of the stuff (is) irrelevant.”

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