Family and friends are mourning the loss of a young Osoyoos man killed in an accidental house fire on New Years’ Day.
Jasper Brian Braga, better known as JB by his friends and family, has been identified by colleagues as the victim of the devastating structure fire, which occurred in the 6400 block of 89th Street at around 9:40 p.m. on Jan 1.
Braga’s father, who is also named Jasper Braga, is recovering from severe burn injuries in intensive care.
The senior Braga works as a grocery clerk at AG Foods in Osoyoos.
Assistant manager Zach Poturika said Braga’s colleagues are “in shock.” He said Braga is a “great employee” and customers love him.
AG Foods is accepting gift card donations on behalf of the Osoyoos Gift Cupboard to support the Braga family. It’s a community group that raises money for local families in need.
Gas/grocery or Visa/MasterCard gift cards can also be dropped off at Osoyoos Nails, organizers said.
The junior Braga worked full-time as a cook at the A & W in Osoyoos, and franchisee owner Kristen Mason has also launched a GoFundMe page to cover medical travel expenses and anything else the family needs.
“JB was such a kind soul that touched everyone’s hearts, let me tell you though JB was famous for being just a couple minutes late, but it never mattered because we always knew he would be there,” Mason said on the GoFundMe page.
“Everyone always got excited when he came walking in because he always brought so much joy into work, Singing, and dancing while cooking, he always made the best out of his time with us. ”
Mason added that Braga was an “amazing young man” when contacted by Global News on Monday.
“He always came in with a smile on his face, he was friends with everybody, and he was a remarkable person,” she said.
Osoyoos Fire and Rescue said there were efforts to save the young man, but it was too late.
“Neighbours were reporting that one member of the family was still inside the building,” Osoyoos Fire Rescue said in a press release.
“A family member was trying to re-enter the structure to help the young adult male inside.
“On arrival of the first engine, firefighters made a quick entry into the structure to knock down the fire and rescued the young adult male.”
Osoyoos Fire Rescue said the young male occupant was rescued within three minutes, but that he had suffered extensive burns and trauma, and was treated by firefighters until BC Emergency Health Services took over.
“Both male residents were transported to the hospital,” said Osoyoos Fire Rescue, “where one succumbed to his burn injuries and the other is in intensive care in Kelowna.”
Osoyoos RCMP said police are not investigating the fatal blaze because fire investigators have said the fire “is not suspicious.”
Osoyoos Fire Rescue is working with the Office of the Fire Commissioner and the BC Coroner’s Service to investigate the cause. It is currently undetermined.
Smoke alarms were activated inside the house and firefighters were able to contain the fire to the room of origin, it said.