Fire victim seeks help

Popkum resident looks for a place to live, steps to move forward in his life

Kal Derlago is not in a good place right now. Mentally, emotionally and physically, he is strained to the limit.

“I’m looking for help big time,” says Derlago.

Derlago lost his home and everything in it to a fire April 15. All his clothes, possessions, even the urn with his mother’s ashes, are gone.

Derlago has lived in Popkum, in a home near the Fraser River for the last five years. Originally from Vancouver, it is a peaceful little corner of the Fraser Valley he now calls home.

He was living without power for the last six months since a dispute over hydro left him in the cold.

The day of the fire, Derlago was outside with a troubled friend.

“I went in to light a candle and lit my wood furnace to heat my house,” explains Derlago.

Then he went back outside to see his friend off.

“Not even 10 minutes later, there was four feet of smoke billowing out,” he recalls.

Derlago’s emergency call brought out Popkum and Agassiz detachments but they arrived to a house already burning up in flames.

“Everything was incinerated.”

Some of the items that make him most sad to lose are his mother and grandmother’s artwork, as well as his own – “futuristic native sculptures,” – as he describes it.

Unfortunately, Derlago states he was unable to get fire insurance due to the location of his home.

Derlago is currently living out of his car and says his plan right now is “just to survive.”

Locals have stepped up with food and clothing. But Derlago is still looking for a place to stay while he rebuilds his life. If you would like to contact Derlago, email him at kal32213221@gmail.com