By Kelly M. Dick,
A Sicamous man is grateful for the support of his co-workers and the community after losing his home, pets and possessions in a fire Thursday morning.
Dec. 4 began as any other work day for Kurt Mushumanski. He got out of bed to start his daily routine, which includes stoking the fire before heading out the door for TA Structures. Little did he know, his entire life was about to change.
At 7:52 a.m., a co-worker received a call stating there was a lot of fire and sirens coming from the direction of Tim Hortons. The message was relayed to Mushumanski as the fire seemed close to where he lived. Thinking everything was OK, Mushumanski continued on working. At 8:22, however, it was confirmed his place was indeed on fire.
Mushumanski’s boss, Kevin Miller, was quick to get him to scene of the fire, a rented cabin on Boutwell Road, owned by Allan and June Trouton. Upon arrival, there wasn’t much left of the structure. Mushumanski says he was greeted by RCMP and Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino.
“We were a little concerned because there were two vehicles in the yard and we didn’t know for sure if the (tenant) was there,” said Ogino. “He was at work fortunately, so he’s OK. But he’s shaken up. We’re pretty concerned about how he’s doing.”
Mushumanski informed emergency services his roommate had moved out a few weeks back, but his pet dog and hedgehog, Ralph and Sonic had been inside. Their loss has been devastating for Mushumanski. He says the dog was a recent addition and Sonic, was a beloved gift from his nieces and nephew.
Also lost were the Christmas gifts he’d already purchased for his nieces, nephew and an employee exchange, along with his treasured mementos, including a terabyte of digital storage containing family photos, and a saxophone he wanted for nine years and finally received as a gift.
Ogino says the cause of the fire is unknown.
With little to nothing left, Mushumanski decided to return to work and continue on. RCMP Victim Services held a meeting with Mushumanski at TA Structures later that day, providing him with some help. A co-worker offered him a place to stay, TA’s social committee stepped up with a donation and employees took up a quick collection.
“I am in shock and awe because I have never seen that side of Kevin Miller before,” said Mushumanski of his co-workers.
In an emotional moment with his brother, Mushumanski said, “I am just one of the guys,” explaining it took this crisis for him to see that.
Learning others in the community care and want to help him out during this difficult time, Mushumanski observed, “I am so overwhelmed by the generosity extended to me, that at this time, I can only think of one thing to say, thank you.”