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Shuswap home burns to ground, mom and three children lose all belongings, family cat

Friends, community rally to help, family will need permanent rental home
Nothing but ashes was left following a fire that destroyed a Blind Bay home in the 3100 block of Cedar Drive on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. This photo was taken about 12:15 p.m. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District photo)

The home and all the belongings of a Blind Bay mom and her three children went up in smoke on April 5.

About 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, the Shuswap Fire Department was paged regarding a residential fire in the 3100 block of Cedar Drive in Blind Bay. When firefighters arrived, the single-family home was already fully engulfed in flames.

Sean Coubrough, fire services coordinator with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, said the three people at the residence were alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm. He said an investigation of the cause is underway but the fire appeared to have started downstairs and spread quickly.

By the time the residents noticed the fire and attempted to go upstairs to get the family cat, the smoke was already too thick, he said. The cat was not located. The home consisted of a basement, a main floor and a second-storey loft.

Laine Cooper, owner of Aria Mei-Spa & Laser Clinic where Pamela Wiegand, the woman whose home burned, is a cosmetic tattoo artist, said Pamela was getting set up for her five-year-old daughter Olive’s birthday party. Olive was at day care but Pamela, her son Riley, 17, and daughter Cameron, 15, were home.

Cooper said the three family members had to leave the house so quickly that wallets, identification and vehicle keys were left behind. She said propane tanks exploded and the house burned to ashes in minutes.

While Emergency Social Services provided the family with initial necessities including hotel accommodation for a few days, friends have been scrambling to find them a permanent rental home. They’re also looking for somewhere to store larger items as they gather belongings for the family.

Any help the community can provide is welcomed. Donations of clothing, toiletries, etc. and cash can be dropped off at Aria Mei-Spa & Laser Clinic, #7 - 2417 Golf Course Dr., Sorrento.

Sizes needed are as follows: Oldest, 6’3”, size large, shoe size 13. Oldest girl, size medium, shoe size 9. Youngest girl, size 6 or 5T. Mom, size large, size 12 pants, shoe size 9.

For those who would like to e-transfer funds, they can be sent to

Pamela’s friends said she wishes to thank everyone who has reached out to help. She said the support has been overwhelming.

The Tappen-Sunnybrae and White Lake fire departments provided mutual aid to the Shuswap Fire Department. Firefighters were on scene until about 5 p.m. April 5.

Read more: Tenants lose everything in April 1 Salmon Arm fire deemed accidental

Read more: Salmon Arm Minor Baseball Association receives honour, pays tribute to respected coach
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Pamela Wiegand and her children, from left, Riley, Cameron and Olive are now without a permanent home after their house in the 3100 block of Cedar Drive in Blind Bay burned to the ground on Tuesday, April 5. (Photo contributed)

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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