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.

B.C. wildfires 2017

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey firefighters battle truck, trailer fires in Brownsville

One man was take to Surrey Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

Volunteers sought for Delta food security program

Earthwise Society looking for help as Shared Harvest program expands to serve North Delta

PHOTOS: B.C. Day long weekend on White Rock beach

Hundreds of families gathered at the beach Sunday

Seeds of Change Surrey to launch two new programs

United Way of the Lower Mainland donated $77,000

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Wildfire near Harrison Hot Springs fire ‘out of control’

Blaze grew from 1.5 hectares to 10 hectares overnight

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read