Artist, family lose home, business, priceless art in fire at Likely, B.C.

An electrical fire started in one wall of the Messy Owl Inn in Likely, Friday, March 18. (Photo submitted)An electrical fire started in one wall of the Messy Owl Inn in Likely, Friday, March 18. (Photo submitted)
The Messy Owl Inn was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, March 18 near Likely, B.C. (Photo submitted)The Messy Owl Inn was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, March 18 near Likely, B.C. (Photo submitted)
The Messy Owl Inn at Likely was destroyed by a fire on Friday, March 18. (The Messy Owl Inn photo)The Messy Owl Inn at Likely was destroyed by a fire on Friday, March 18. (The Messy Owl Inn photo)
Iris Mes Low and her daughter has been busy transforming the lodge with a bakery, cafe and lodgings over several months. (Photo submitted)Iris Mes Low and her daughter has been busy transforming the lodge with a bakery, cafe and lodgings over several months. (Photo submitted)
The Messy Owl Inn was located on the former site of the Pyna-tee-ah Lodge on the Quesnel Forks Road in Likely, B.C. (Photo submitted)The Messy Owl Inn was located on the former site of the Pyna-tee-ah Lodge on the Quesnel Forks Road in Likely, B.C. (Photo submitted)
Iris Mes Low and her daughter had up-cycled many items to decorate the lodge. (Photo submitted)Iris Mes Low and her daughter had up-cycled many items to decorate the lodge. (Photo submitted)
Iris Mes Low’s paintings were lost in the fire, including new ones she was creating for an upcoming exhibit. (Photo submitted)Iris Mes Low’s paintings were lost in the fire, including new ones she was creating for an upcoming exhibit. (Photo submitted)
Iris Mes Low said she had been inspired as a painter by her new surroundings in the Likely area and lost four new paintings for an upcoming exhibit in the fire. (Photo submitted)Iris Mes Low said she had been inspired as a painter by her new surroundings in the Likely area and lost four new paintings for an upcoming exhibit in the fire. (Photo submitted)

An artist and her family lost their home and business in Likely to an electrical fire on Friday, March 18.

Iris Mes Low and her family purchased the former Pyna-tee-ah Lodge less than a year ago and Low and her daughter had created the Messy Owl Inn there.

All they have left are the clothes on their back and their car, said Trudy Van Dop, a friend of Low and gallery owner in New Westminster.

“She had great plans for the lodge and her new business,” Van Dop said. “They are currently staying with friends in Likely.”

A GoFundMe has raised $10,820 as of Monday, March 21, and the creator of it noted the family since learned the insurance is only going to be able to cover the cost to rebuild, and not the priceless paintings or any other contents that were inside the lodge, which was also their home.

Low was a member of the Likely District Volunteer Fire and Rescue Society who attended the fire but were unable to put it out, Van Dop said.

On Monday, Low told the Tribune she lost a painting her father created and a lot of her own art work, including some new pieces she had painted for an upcoming exhibit at a gallery in New Westminster.

“I will have to start all over – even all my paint is gone,” she said, noting she’d started offering ‘paint and sip’ nights recently in Likely.

Originally from Holland, the family was living in Vancouver but always rented because they could not afford to purchase a home there.

Then last year Low and her husband ‘scraped every cent together’ they could, purchased the property in Likely and moved there along with their adult daughters Phoebe and Audrey.

“My daughter Audrey and I got to know each other as adults and started planning a café and a B&B.”

Her husband, who is an electrical engineer, was retired earlier than he wanted, but was hired on at Mount Polley Mine after they moved to the community, which Low said was great.

Since the fire Friday, the family has been overwhelmed by community support.

“People have been giving us donations of clothes and fundraising.”

Recalling a time in Vancouver when they needed some help with their roof and there was an article in the local newspaper, she said no one helped at all.

“Here we have people we barely know being so kind to us in Likely and in Williams Lake. It’s incredible.”

This article has been updated from the original version as of 2:10 p.m. Monday, March 21, after interviewing Iris Mes Low.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cariboofire

We are experiencing technical difficulties with our commenting platform and hope to be up and running again soon. In the meantime, you can still send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, or submit a letter to the editor.