ASHLEY WADHWANI, BARBARA RODEN, KATYA SLEPIAN
UPDATE: May 7, 11:00 a.m.
Ashcroft RCMP have confirmed that the search for missing Cache Creek Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy is now a recovery operation. Kamloops Search and Rescue remain on scene and water levels have dropped substantially since Saturday evening, aiding the volunteers’ efforts.
Ten search and rescue volunteers, as well as members of the Cache Creek and Kamloops fire departments, are continuing the search mission both on the ground and in the air. Members of the Cache Creek fire department just want to bring Clayton home at this point, and are very focused on that effort. They are all feeling his absence. Quiet rooms, where the volunteers can go if they need privacy or down-time, have been established at the Cache Creek Community Hall, adjacent to the fire hall, and at Cache Creek Elementary School.
Cassidy was reported missing on the morning of Friday, May 5 and is presumed to have been swept away while checking creek levels. His brother, Patrick Cassidy, is continuing to assist with the flood response.
UPDATE: 5 p.m.
Saturday’s search has been suspended until Sunday morning.
Cache Creek residents continue to deal with flooding throughout the community due to snowmelt and heavy rain.
Meanwhile, rescue crews have resumed their extensive search along Cache Creek for missing Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy who was reported missing Friday morning, believed to be swept away by the creek while checking water levels.
Kamloops Search and Rescue are using drones, the SAR service dog team and swift water rescue members in the hopes of finding 59-year-old Cassidy.
More than 50 search and rescue volunteers are taking part in search efforts, including from Vernon, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge and Mission.
Cassidy was honoured with the B.C. government’s Medal of Good Citizenship for his ongoing efforts in the community. He has been a member of the Cache Creek fire department for more than 30 years.
As the search continues, local resident Lisa Dafoe questioned how the community is going to move past this tragedy.
“Clayton was doing what he loved to do. He loved to help people. He was always giving, always smiling,” she said.
Liberal leader Christy Clark visited the community Saturday, reflecting on 2015 flood that caused substantial destruction in the area.
“I was here in 2015 when there was a devastating flood, in this community and I learned then that people are incredibly resilient here,” she said.
— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) May 6, 2017
Community continues to battle flooding
Flood levels have decreased, but an evacuation centre has been opened at the local community centre, in preparations for any possible changes.