Search for missing Cache Creek fire chief resumes
Rescue crews in Cache Creek have resumed their search for Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy on Saturday morning as water levels in the town and surrounding areas dropped significantly overnight.
Several rescue crews, including canine units and drones, are looking for Cassidy, who was reportedly swept away by fast-moving waters on Friday. The search was called off late Friday night because water levels in the village were too dangerous, Global’s Rumina Daya reported.
An extensive ground and waters’ edge search is underway in Cache Creek after the village’s fire chief went missing while out checking on fast-moving creeks early Friday morning, on the same day that rivers and creeks were being pushed over their banks.
Cassidy went to check the water around 12 a.m. but has not been seen since, according to Asst. Chief Tom Moe.
Moe said dozens of people are involved in the search including Kamloops Search and Rescue (SAR). Ashcroft RCMP said crews searched a segment of Cache Creek, east of the village near Brookside Campground. The 59-year-old fire chief last spoke to someone early Friday and was spotted by the river before going missing.
WATCH: Search underway for missing firefighter near Kamloops
Police have located Cassidy’s vehicle in the area he was last seen. Cache Creek RCMP have sent out SAR crews that include swift water technicians and SAR service dog teams.
Cassidy, who has been with the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years, was honoured with the Medal of Good Citizenship in 2016. He was awarded the medal for helping Cache Creek residents following the town’s devastating flood in 2015.
VIDEO: Footage in Cache Creek shows flood damage and fast-moving creeks Friday afternoon
Along with being head of the volunteer fire department, Cassidy is involved in the community as a minor coach in hockey, soccer and softball.
Cache Creek resident Gale O’Conner’s late husband used to curl with Cassidy.
“He’s a fantastic fellow and is well-known in both Ashcroft and Cache Creek,” O’Conner told Global News. “Everyone is just devastated… Everyone who knew Clayton, he was such a good fellow, he helped in the community all the time.”
Cassidy was among a select group of British Columbians who received the medal.
WATCH: Flooding in Kamloops and Kelowna
At the time Cassidy received the medal B.C. Premier Christy Clark said, “In an emergency, some people rise to the occasion, and others go above and beyond. Nobody had to ask Clayton Cassidy to take a leading role after a devastating flood – he simply stepped up, and made a difference when it was needed most. He continues to find ways to contribute to his neighbours and community without thought of recognition or reward.”
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.”
WATCH: Floods in B.C.’s interior
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.”
Meanwhile, images from Cache Creek show water flowing throughout the community as increasing snowmelt and higher-than-normal rain has caused creeks and rivers to jump their banks.
Firefighters were seen piling up sandbags in an effort to stem the flow of water at the Cache Creek Fire Hall.
But flooding wasn’t just contained to the Cache Creek Fire Hall.
It was also bad enough to block the Trans-Canada Highway.
High water was also witnessed near the Tumbleweed Motel.
— With files from Rumina Daya, Jesse Ferreras, Jon Azpiri and The Canadian Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.