Rain and high winds tore through the Cowichan Lake area last Thursday, toppling trees and killing power for lake residents. Power returned to Lake Cowichan in the wee hours of Friday morning, to Youbou in time for the work day, but lines were still down in Mesachie Lake and Honeymoon Bay as of midday Friday.
“The wind storm caused a lot of issues for emergency services. With downed trees, came down power and/or phone lines requiring roads to be closed until the mess could be cleaned up. Police were busy with traffic control primarily during the storm and it’s aftermath,” reported Sgt. Wes Olsen, Detachment Commander of Lake Cowichan RCMP.
The Lake Cowichan Fire Department was busy on Thursday due to the power outage. They dealt with a houseboat adrift, and were called simultaneously to deal with downed power lines near Skutz Falls.
Soon after they were called to two house fires, one on South Shore Road which was assisted by Mesachie Lake Fire Department, and the other fire was on Cowichan Lake Road.
In the midst of Thursday’s chaos, the Field’s store was broken into and thieves stole cigarettes, lighters, chips and pop, taking advantage of the downed alarm system.
Another unlucky resident of Lake Cowichan, Keith White, lost his Honda Accord when the wind blew his neighbour’s tree down on his car.
“I was standing at the window watching the wind blow when I heard the tree fall,” said White.
The fir tree clipped the edge of his house but only damaged the flashing, and then smashed the front of his Honda Accord.
“It was scary. I came out to look at the tree but then I heard the wind again and went back inside.”
The single father of two children was upbeat, though, and said it could have been worse, and the Honda wasn’t his only car.
“I have a minvan, too. Luckily it was out of the way.”
White said he called the insurance company and would wait and see what they said about the car.
“It’ll make good firewood,” White said of the tree. He and his neighbour had already talked about the problem and planned to chop it up.
A tree in the field of Lake Cowichan School fell, too, crushing the fence around the outdoor basketball court and distorting the fence along the road.
The Hydro lines on South Shore Road between Lake Cowichan and Mesachie Lake were still down midday Friday, stretched and broken by fallen trees. Crews were out working to restore lines, and according to media reports, BC Hydro hoped to have power restored to residents by Friday night.
The community quickly rallied in support of those who lost their homes in the fire. Country Grocer hosted a hot dog sale to raise money that will go towards the homeowners of the home known as the “Christmas House.” Keith White and his children visited Country Grocer and bought hot dogs to help out those in need. By 4 p.m., though the fire was still burning, the fundraiser had collected over $200.