Randy Lorntsen dodged wildfires, covered countless miles and didn’t sleep for two days until he finally fell into bed at his mother’s home in Quesnel, only to wake up the next morning and find his vehicle’s side window broken and his possessions stolen.
He’s trying very hard not to have a bad impression of Quesnel, but he says it’s a bit hard to do right now.
Randy lives in Williams Lake with his girlfriend Nya Wan and manages multiple rentals. With wildfires raging all around, he decided it was time to pick up his girlfriend from the coast. He’d then stop at their home in Williams Lake and pick up his cat and a few more possessions before voluntarily evacuating to his mother’s home in Quesnel.
He headed out early Sunday morning, was routed through Lone Butte and on to the Lower Mainland to pick up Nya and head north immediately, only to find access to Williams Lake blocked.
The pair were routed via the Coquihalla Highway to Kamloops, then onto Highway 24 to Little Fort, where they again ran into a road block. They spent the night in their car. At about 5:30 a.m. it was off to find Highway 5 to McBride, into Prince George and down to Quesnel, where they arrived at 6 p.m.
Exhausted but glad to be off the road and safe from the wildfires, the couple were in bed by 8 p.m.
At 7 a.m., Randy went to his car, only to find the passenger window in a heap of broken glass on the seat and floor. His glovebox had been emptied and everything on his front seat taken, including his cell phone, which contained all the numbers of his tenants, owners and tradespeople. His whole life was gone.
“My mother’s dog was sleeping 10 feet from the car and never even woke up, and that dog barks at everything,” he said with a sigh.
Randy figures the thief didn’t want to chance setting off an alarm by opening the door, so just took whatever was reachable through the smashed window. He’s grateful they didn’t attempt to get in his trunk where many more valuable possessions were being stored.
“I was packed for evacuation. They took my clothes and everything,” he said.
Nya was angry with the thief, and expressed her feelings.
“We work hard for what we have and it gets to you – when you’re already down, you’re not supposed to be kicked again.”
Randy reported the theft to the police and has had the phone suspended so no one can use it, but he figures this will cost him about $600 by the time he pays his deductible, more if there’s damage to the car’s window ledge.
The couple would still like to get back to Williams Lake to save their pet, but now that the entire community is on evacuation alert, Randy has his doubts and he can’t even phone anyone to help him out as he doesn’t have any phone numbers.