Cody, his dad Stan, and mother Darlene on the porch of their house which burned down in the Gustafsen fire.

Family home burned to the ground

“It looked like a war zone there”

“When we were evacuated, the cops came to my house, and… Sorry, this is so hard to talk about,” says Cody Bandsma. “Cops came to my house, and I grabbed everything I could. I grabbed picture frames, I grabbed albums. I really didn’t think it was going to go down, so I didn’t grab as much as I should’ve,” said Cody, whose house in 105 Mile House burned down.

“It’s just all a crater. I don’t know really what to say, it just happened really fast,” he says. Cody is currently staying in Kelowna and adds that they had an automotive mechanics shop by the house as well.

Cody’s dad Stan Bandsma was on holidays in the Shuswap at the time.

“Every time I go to think of, I’m gonna go home and grab that thing … it’s not there anymore. I was very well set up. I had 1st Stop Auto and it was all set up very nicely. I had every piece of equipment that I needed to do just about anything. I had everything really nice and neat, I’m very picky. It’s very devastating for me.”

“Cody was at home, my son, and he said ‘What do you want me to do?’ So we gave him a list and he went through and took personal things like pictures and albums and stuff like that. He got the Mustang out of there, my show car, a ‘73 Mustang Fastback; he got that out of there and another car trailer and he got my Bobcat out of there.

“He was just working tirelessly until 10 o’clock that night. Just getting stuff out of there and he didn’t think of himself. He didn’t even take any of his own stuff, no clothes, nothing. No sentimental stuff of his own. He was amazing and he’s taking it very hard. It’s really rough on him. He was pretty much a one-year-old when we got there and we built everything.

“Everything on that property we had built or rebuilt. There was nothing on that property when we got there. He did an amazing job.”

The family found out their place had burned down through a picture on Facebook.

“Someone drove through in the night actually, and showed us a film of him driving through the driveway and it looked like a war zone there. And then someone put a picture in the morning and put it on Facebook at the end of the driveway pointing in and the only thing standing was the 1st Stop Auto Sign,” he says. “Technically, I shouldn’t even know my house is burned down.”

According to Stan, their home is not the only one destroyed.

“There are other houses that are gone in that area too. I know that because I’ve seen pictures, but I don’t want to say who they are.”

Stan was overwhelmed with it all.

“I’ve lost my business, so I have no way to make an income. That was our total income that we had for our family. I have no way of making an income now and then everything else is gone too,” he says. “We’re just gonna hang out in Kelowna I guess; find a hotel or whatever.”

Cody says when they can, they’ll go back as a family.

“Whenever we’re we’re allowed in there, we’re gonna go as a family and we’re gonna try and see what we can recover.”

 

The back of the house with part of the shop visible

The view from the driveway. The only thing that appears to remain is the 1st Stop Auto sign. Submitted photos

The ‘73 Ford Mustang Fastback that Cody managed to save on the lawn in front of their house.

Just Posted

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Sports Briefs

Your top athletes and teams

VIDEO: Dog behaviourist holds classes to raise funds for NARA

Holidays are a busy time for rescue agencies

Residential projects delayed for years in Terrace pick back up

LNG confidence a catalyst for progression, developers say

Terrace one step closer to first pot shop

Public hearing on BC Cannabis store in Skeena Mall scheduled for Dec. 10

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Time magazine’s 2018 person of the year

The group is made up of four journalists and are the “guardians and the war on truth”

Trump to meet with Democrats about border wall, shutdown

US president wants $5 billion for border wall, while Democrats offer up about $1.3 billion for fencing and other security measures

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

Most Read