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

Peace Walk fundraiser for hospice runs on Sunday

Take a walk, have a snack, and help donate to a local charity

City of Victoria joins national food waste reduction program

The City is partnering in the Love Food, Hate Waste Program

Thousands attend 31st TD Art Gallery Paint-In

Artists display their work along 20 blocks of Moss Street

Details scarce as union confirms probe underway involving Victoria care homes

Island Health, VicPD offer no comment on report of investigation into alleged sexual assaults

Swimmer set for double crossing of Georgia Strait

Jill Yoneda’s Aug. 3 swim will benefit Canuck Place

VIDEO: Victoria woman recounts driving past wildfire near Peachland

Jenna Smith compared the fire to an apocalypse movie

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read