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Major lumber donation aims to help rebuild Lytton

Russell Hixson
Major lumber donation aims to help rebuild Lytton
TEAL-JONES GROUP — Approximately 500,000 board feet of lumber is standing by to help rebuild homes after nearly all of Lytton, B.C. was destroyed by a wildfire.

Five-hundred-thousand board feet of lumber is standing by to help rebuild the community of Lytton, B.C. which was almost completely destroyed in a wildfire.

Fire swept through the town during a blistering heat wave that saw the region see the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada: 49.6 degrees. Two were killed. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the RCMP.

The lumber comes from Teal-Jones Group, the largest privately-owned timber harvesting and primary lumber product manufacturing company in B.C.

“They had about 15 minutes to get their things and leave,” said Teal-Jones spokesperson Jack Gardner, great-grandson of company founder Jack Jones. “I don’t even know what I would do if that was me. My thoughts go out to those people. When we heard, we just thought about what we could do.”

Gardner said the company has been logging in the area for 30 years and some employees and contractors were impacted. One young employee was working at a mill when he learned his home had been completely destroyed.

“Being at work and finding out your house has burned up – that is devastating,” said Gardner. “It’s terrible. We have been logging here for 30 years. This is in our backyard and we want to help our neighbours.”

Gardner said it is roughly enough wood for 50 three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes. He has already been getting calls from truckers, painters and builders who want to help with the transport and construction process.

“It’s important for us that we give back to the community,” said Gardner. “I would encourage others to get out there and maybe do the same and help with rebuilding the community of Lytton.”

The company, which began in New Westminster in 1946, makes products using red cedar, southern yellow pine, tonewood, western red cedar and whitewood.

Earlier this month the B.C. government and the Government of Canada announced it will match all donations to the Canadian Red Cross up to $20 million.

Following the lumber donation, other companies and groups have expressed interested in helping rebuild Lytton and First Nation communities in the area,

Teal-Jones stated that the following offers have been made:

  • Cloverdale Paint in Surrey – A donation of enough paint for the 50 buildings
  • Trick Transport Ltd. of Kamloops – A donation of trucking for the lumber and materials
  • Jetes MTB Group of Vancouver – A donation of trucking for the lumber and materials
  • Coastal Natural Resource Management of North Vancouver – a $5,000 donation towards the purchase of additional materials;

“BC businesses are coming together to help rebuild these forestry communities,” said Gardner. “We are humbled by and grateful for these businesses’ support for the people of Lytton and the Lytton First Nation at this time of great need

Follow the author on Twitter @RussellReports.

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