Williams Lake Tribune

Help available for victims of devastating hotel fire

People who lost their homes when fire destroyed part of the Williams Inn Friday night can find help from several local agencies.

Dave Dickson, director of Williams Lake Emergency Social Services, says ESS is responsible for victims for 72 hours after an emergency but it has extended that responsibility by a couple of days for the Williams Inn fire victims.

More than 40 people lost their homes to the fire.

Dickson says ESS provided victims with funds for basic needs following the fire and has found temporary accommodation for the victims in various locations around the city, but by Wednesday people will be on their own.

He says ESS has asked the Salvation Army to co-ordinate further relief efforts and is also referring victims to the Ministry of Social Services for additional help they may need.

Salvation Army Corp. Sgt. Major Dina Kennedy says fire victims will be given vouchers for free clothing, household items, and furniture that may be available at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. She says volunteers will come and up pick up donations of clothing and household items people may have for the fire victims. The Salvation Army will also issue tax receipts for any cash donations people may want to make for the fire victims, she says.

Wayne Lucier, the homeless outreach worker for the local Canadian Mental Health Association, is asking people to give him a call if they have any furniture they would like to donate for the fire victims. He says there is a storage locker where the items can be stored until people find permanent homes.

Beds, couches, tables, chairs, televisions and the like would all be appreciated. People can reach Lucier by calling 250-305-4652.

The Central Cariboo Search and Rescue at 1110 North Mackenzie Ave. has also been serving as a drop-off location for donations this week, says spokesperson Brielle Penner. She says they have been receiving donations since Sunday and have an overload of clothing. What they need now are items for setting up a home, pots, pans, coffee pots, microwaves, cutlery, dishes, pillows, sheets, blankets, and furniture. She says the rescue centre will be open to receive donations today through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

A rescue truck will be parked out front of the building to help people identify the location near the Boundary/Mackenzie Avenue intersection.

She says fire victims have been coming in to find items they need and they will hold items for people until they find new accommodation. Unclaimed items will be given out to the Salvation Army for distribution.

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