Hundreds gather to mourn B.C. fire chief killed in flooding creek

By The Canadian Press
June 4, 2017 - 9:35am Updated: June 5, 2017 - 1:01pm

CACHE CREEK, B.C. — Hundreds gathered at a memorial in British Columbia’s Interior to honour a fire chief swept away in a swollen creek last month.

Clayton Cassidy went missing on May 5 while checking the water levels of Cache Creek and after an exhaustive search, his body was found by Ashcroft fire officials three weeks later.

Firefighters from across B.C. and hundreds of others jammed Cache Creek Park arena to take part in the memorial service Saturday.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when his three sons rose to speak.

Ken Cassidy said the loss of their father was unfair and sudden, and saying goodbye is impossible, while Kevin Cassidy said he wished there was a bigger word than thank you for the people who spent weeks looking for their father.

Clayton Cassidy’s widow Rose was presented with his helmet and the family received a rolling salute from firefighters lining the streets as they left.

His son Derek Cassidy said he hoped others, especially firefighters, learn from the tragedy, and take caution in risky situations.

“Never go at it alone, especially if you think there’s a type of risk involved. Having someone with you can save your life,” he said.

Clayton Cassidy was highly respected in the community and received a Medal of Good Citizenship from the provincial government for helping residents recover from floods in 2015.

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranata has previously said his death is a tragedy that will live with the community for years to come.

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