Rescue crews scour waters in Cache Creek for missing firefighter

By James Peters / Jill Sperling
May 5, 2017 - 1:07pm Updated: May 5, 2017 - 11:11pm

CACHE CREEK, B.C. — A frantic search for the village fire chief has been launched in Cache Creek.

In response to an overnight rain storm, Clayton Cassidy went out in the pre-dawn hours Friday to check the level of Cache Creek itself.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk of Southeast District RCMP says the last contact anyone had with Cassidy was at around 3:00 a.m.

"This morning, he was reported as missing. We sent officers out to the area near the Brookside Campground where we did locate Clayton's vehicle," said Moskaluk.

Moskaluk says search and rescue personnel from around the region were summoned immediately, as well as RCMP search teams.

It's feared that Cassidy was swept away by the fast-flowing creek.

"It's our understanding that Mr. Cassidy was in the immediate area of the waterway of Cache Creek, looking at water conditions," said Moskaluk. 

"It is suspected that he may have fallen in the water. Hence, we do have an extensive search going on along the water's edge. It's also my understanding we do have air services involved to look from the air."

"We're searching everywhere," said Kamloops SAR Volunteer Search Master Alan Hobler. "We have been checking the rivers especially, but we're also checking on shore as well."

Assistant Fire Chief Tom Moe says dozens of local civilian volunteers have joined first responders in the search for Cassidy.

Cassidy is well-known in the community of Cache Creek, and received a Medal of Good Citizenship in 2016 for his work during the devastating May 2015 flood in the village.

Moskaluk says Cassidy is a pillar of Cache Creek.

"Given the small size of this community, and the various hats of involvement and engagement that all our first responder and community personnel - and even in the private sector of these small communities are part and parcel of the fabric of these communities. That certainly is the case here with Mr. Cassidy."

RCMP have now issued a missing person alert for Cassidy.

"It's our understanding that he would have last been wearing blue overalls. He's a caucasian male, 59 years of age, brown hair, brown eyes, with a moustache. He stands about 5'11" and weighs 177 pounds," said Moskaluk.

Officials note it is very important to stay clear of fast-flowing waterways.

"Over the past couple of days, and especially today, in most of the province and in particular in the central and southern portion of the Interior, we've had extensive rainfall. All our waterways are certainly swelling and continuing to swell, so we do ask everybody to be cautious around the waterways."

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