Surrey firefighter Geoff McIntyre, left, Assistant fire chief Chris Keon, middle, talk to Williams Lake resident Woody Winkelmann about their firefighting efforts. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Wildfire evacuee was ‘treated like royalty’

Woody Winkelmann just wants to say thank you

Despite what’s been a traumatic, drawn-out experience, Williams Lake resident Woody Winkelmann has no complaints about the evacuation process.

Along with his wife Cathy, Winkelmann had to pack up his things and make the long seven-hour drive to Prince George from Williams Lake when the evacuation order came down mid-July. Along the way, he was amazed by the strength and integrity of the emergency personel on scene.

VIDEO: B.C. fire crews return home after month-long wildfire battle

“It was literally raining ashes and here were those cops standing out there in that,” said Winkelmann of the police who lined the evacuation routes, helping escort evacuees to Prince George. “They’re away from their wife and kids too.”

The two weeks spent under evacuation order weren’t easy, especially when one of the Winkelmann’s front tires broke down, forcing them into a Prince George Canadian Tire on a Sunday. Thankfully, an off-duty mechanic was around to help.

“The lady gave me a price – $850,” said Winkelmann. But when the mechanic told him the job was done and he went up to pay his bill, he got quite the surprise.

“It said $583. Canadian Tire knocked off $300. They wouldn’t take our money.”


Woody WInkelmann is thrilled about how he was treated as an evacuee. Katya Slepian/Black Press.

Winkelmann had a similar experience while making a sign saying thank you to Prince George for helping him, his wife and all the evacuees in a time of need.

“I tried to give [the cashier] my money but she said no!” Winkelmann said.


Cathy and Woody Winkelman made up a poster to show Prince George how grateful they were. Katya Slepian/Black Press

The same experiences was repeated everywhere the Winkelmanns went in Prince George.

Everywhere we went we got treated like royalty,” he said. “Everyone was super nice about asking if we were okay.”

Despite the hardships, Winkelmann isn’t complaining.

“All we want to do is say thank you,” he said.

“People are [complaining] – give me a break.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hotel, restaurant and multi-use residential complex proposed for Resort Drive

Parksville could soon see more rental units, some zoned for commercial use

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

ECHO Players’ 2018/19 season announced

Qualicum Beach theatre company to show Peter Pan musical, Enchanted April and more

More Qualicum Beach, Nanoose Douglas-fir ecosystem protected from logging

B.C. Gov’t announces 980.5 hectares of protected land added

Qualicum Beach mayor plans to run for re-election

Teunis Westbroek hopes to continue serving needs of Town’s residents as mayor

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read