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Pemberton residents go without sleep to fight floods

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Kyle Bubbs, a volunteer Fire Fighter in Pemberton, first got the call at about 6 a.m. on Saturday. Within a few hours, the 18-member volunteer fire department was at the front-lines, helping people to evacuate, filling sandbags, patrolling the dikes, keeping the pumps running, and participating in searches for victims of the Rutherford Creek Bridge disaster.

They worked all day and through the next night, and for more than a day after that. By the time the floods started to recede on Monday night, they had worked more than 60 hours, without almost no sleep.

Bubbs estimates that he got about four hours sleep over the three days, and says some people got even less.

"The community really, really came together over this," he said.

Although some subdivisions in Pemberton were swamped with water, the volunteers did manage to turn the flood back in several areas, and to empty others of water before it could cause too much damage.

"Some of the volunteers had homes that were in danger, and all the residents came out to volunteer, and they just did great," said Bubbs.

The Pemberton firefighters were aided by Whistler firefighters who lived in the community and volunteered for service.

The local Search and Rescue team was also in action, and worked through two nights to help residents evacuate their homes, while also searching for the two men that are missing in Rutherford Creek.

Now that the flood waters are receding, Bubbs wants everyone in town to give themselves a pat on the back.

"My feeling is that I want everyone to get recognition for what they did. So many people worked night and day, our volunteer station was always there with people, people made food and coffee for us. It really could have ended up a lot worse, and the reason it didn’t is that everyone in town pulled together as a community. It was a community effort."

The people who worked around the clock include firefighters, the Search and Rescue Team, the Village of Pemberton works yard employees, RCMP members, heavy equipment operators, and Sandy McCormack from the diking district.

Bubbs’ list of thanks includes Pemberton Fire Chief Russel Mack, and his assistants Christian Staley and Greg Burt, his aunt Triss who kept the crews fed, and the hundreds of people who came out to fill sandbags, make sandwiches, brew coffee, and volunteer in any way they can.

"It was just an incredible thing to happen, and I was really proud of everyone in this community who gave everything they had. That’s the story I would like to come out of this," said Bubbs.

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