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Animals lost in fire: Sylvan Lake man raising funds for sister left homeless by B.C. wildfire

A GoFundMe campaign set up for sister who lost home and numerous rescued animals in fire
Sylvan Lake’s Kevin Cooke is raising money for his sister, Jackie, who lost everything last week when a wildfire destroyed her home at Monte Lake, B.C. (Photo contributed)

A Sylvan Lake man has launched an online fundraiser for his sister who lost her home and numerous rescued birds and other animals when her B.C. home was destroyed by fire last week.

Kevin Cooke, 58, said his older sister Jackie was in a nearby town buying pet food when an evacuation notice was sent last Friday to residents near Monte Lake in B.C.’s central interior.

As she raced home she could see the fire was moving through the valley.

“When she got there the gate was on fire and the yard was going up in the back. (The fire) just came down so fast. It came up and took her backyard and started to burn her barn and her home starting going up.

“She kicked the fence in and ran in and got her dogs because the dog kennel was on fire.”

Jackie, 66, who is an animal rescuer, managed to retrieve her six dogs but more than a dozen cats and numerous exotic birds she had cared for, including parrots and cockatoos could not be saved. Chickens and peacocks that were in the barn were also lost.

The fires had created a wind tornado. “The noise was so loud you could hardly hear yourself think,” his sister told him.

The home and other buildings were not insured. Kevin has started a GoFundMe campaign under his sister’s name to raise $25,000. Nearly $7,000 was raised by Wednesday.

His sister is struggling to deal with the loss of her home and all the animals she cared for.

“My sister desperately needs help. I at least have a roof over my head and she’s got nothing. She’s staying at a friends in Vernon with her six dogs.

“Who knows how long that will last.”

Kevin said he is grateful that so many people have already stepped up to provide donations.

“It’s going to take that ($25,000), at least, just to clean up,” he said. “She lived on a three-acre parcel all on a hill. It just looks like a bomb went off.”

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