Tasco Supplies owner Troy Weil has been providing service to ranchers and loggers needing fire fighting supplies since Day 1 of the wildfires.
“The people who have been coming in are sure appreciative. It’s the people fighting the fires – the loggers and ranchers,” Weil said Friday, two weeks after fires surrounded the lakecity.
“They come in and share their stories, both the good and the bad. Everyone has their own stories to tell about fighting fires and saving houses and properties.
“There are so many heroes out there. I’m really proud how everyone has stepped up and come together. Everyone is working really hard.”
Weil himself sent his own family out-of-town and stayed in Williams Lake to keep Tasco, an industrial supplies store which has been family-run for the past 45 years, open throughout the alert and evacuation.
“I just did what I had to do to keep the store open and do my part. Imagine if the people fighting the fires didn’t have the parts they needed?”
Weil said Tasco has also been used as a holding port for medicines which were shipped down from Prince George and redistributed to rural communities.
A born and raised local, Weil said he’s very proud of his community.
UNDER EVACUATION: Staying behind to protect livelihood
“The locals really have faith in each other. They all speak highly of each other when they come in,” he said.
“As hard as everyone’s working they are so polite and thankful.”
Working from 4:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily, Weil has enlisted the help of his brother-in-law Jordan Rankin to assist in the store while both families have been impacted themselves by the wildfires.
Rankin said more businesses need to be allowed to open to support fire fighting efforts.
“Time is critical when you are fighting fires. They need to let supply trucks in to deliver to businesses,” said Rankin.
“We need businesses open. If you’re going to fight fire and try to save this community, you have to think about it. You need businesses open to support the services.”
Weil agrees but also understands why businesses wouldn’t want to put staff in harm’s way.
Weil said he knew where the fires were and was comfortable with staying within the city after it was evacuated.
“I was aware of where the fire was. In my mind, if the mill yards caught on fire, it was time to get out.”