Residents of the small British Columbia village that grabbed international headlines for hitting record-high temperatures in Canada several days in a row finally got to see what little remained of their town after a fire suddenly tore through it.
The fire caused unfathomable amounts of devastation to the village, and two deaths have been confirmed by authorities. The RCMP are still trying to identify the victims.
On July 9, buses carried some inhabitants of Lytton back for the first time since the fire on June 30 for a small tour, and what they found was an area that was more ash than home. Several media members were allowed on the tour and brought back photos of the destruction.
Images show desolation across Lytton—homes burned to the foundations, structures entirely missing, the charred husks of cars abandoned by those who had to flee in a matter of moments. Only a few structures remain.
“That was one of the strange things about it, is that the town is erased,” the president of the local farmers’ market told the New York Times. “Literally, there’s an occasional chimney stack as a kind of exclamation point to the fact that the town is completely gone.”
The buildings that do remain upright have almost universally been entirely gutted from the blaze. In one haunting photo, all that remains of the once-bustling village intersection is a crosswalk painted with pride colours.
Another photo shows a white picket fence shockingly untouched by the fire. The home behind the fence, however, wasn’t so lucky.
Shortly before the fire tore through the town, Lytton set three Canadian heat records. The final record, 49.5C, currently stands as the hottest day in Canadian recorded history. While the heatwave made the town incredibly vulnerable to a fire an investigation into how the fire started is currently underway. This includes the possible explanation that a train going through town started it.
The heatwave was responsible for hundreds of sudden deaths in western Canada and the Pacific northwest.
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