‘He chose to stay to fight the fire’: Lytton, B.C. resident says her dad saved homes

Click to play video: 'Indigenous elder celebrated for saving parts of B.C. First Nation from devastating Lytton wildfire'
Indigenous elder celebrated for saving parts of B.C. First Nation from devastating Lytton wildfire
Norman Drynock, 65, is being hailed as a hero for protecting Indigenous land from the raging wildfire that decimated the village of Lytton, B.C. His daughter Starr is finally breathing a sigh of relief, after she hadn't heard from her father. As Robin Gill reports, Drynock is not the only resident who defied evacuation orders. – Jul 2, 2021

A fast-moving wildfire destroyed 90 per cent of Lytton, B.C., this week, just after the village shattered the record for Canada’s highest temperature.

Residents who were forced to flee with just a few moment’s notice are concerned about loved ones who remain missing.

Click to play video: 'Lytton wildfire: ‘I know he wouldn’t leave’: Woman desperately awaits to hear from father'
Lytton wildfire: ‘I know he wouldn’t leave’: Woman desperately awaits to hear from father

There are a number of people unaccounted for since the fire swept through the village but B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Thursday it has been hard to keep tabs on where everyone ended up given the urgent nature of Wednesday evening’s evacuation.

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Officials say it’s unclear whether anyone remains in the village due to a lack of cell service and RCMP say it’s unsafe to enter the village at this time.

The B.C. Coroner’s Service told Global News Friday it has received reports of two deaths related to the fire but they will not be able to gain access until Saturday at the earliest.

Click to play video: 'Lytton fire evacuees scattered throughout several B.C. communities'
Lytton fire evacuees scattered throughout several B.C. communities

Lytton resident Starr Drynock told Global News on Thursday that she was desperate for any news of her dad who was unaccounted for at that time.

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“It’s terrifying because I know he wouldn’t leave,” she said.

Her dad, Norman, 65, is a retired firefighter and Starr said he wanted to try to save as many homes as possible.

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“He chose to stay and we found out he was the last one to stay on reserve to fight the fire and save as many houses as he can and he didn’t leave (Wednesday) night.”

However, some good news on Friday morning as Starr said she heard from multiple sources that her dad is tired but safe.

“He managed to build a guard around Nicomen and protect homes,” she said.

“We’re just waiting to see which way he comes out and we’ll reunite with him soon through friends and family.”

Right now the focus is on stopping the spread of the Lytton Creek fire, which is estimated to be about 6,400 hectares, or 64 square kilometres, in size.

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Personnel are working on the northwest flank to secure the community, the B.C. Wildfire Service said Thursday. Ground crews and air support continue to work on the fire and one Structure Protection Unit is set up on the east flank near Highway 1.

There are currently 119 wildfires burning in the province.

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