Cariboo Pub Takes in Evacuees
Lone Butte, B.C. – A pub may seem an likely meeting place for those affected by wildfires but that’s certainly been the case in Lone Butte.
Located about a 20-minute drive from 100 Mile House on Highway 24, the Iron Horse Pub is one of the evacuation routes out of central British Columbia.
It’s operated by Karen Owens and Tracy Armstrong who have opened their hearts to all that have needed it.
They’ve provided meals, showers and laundry facilities and opened the acreage behind the pub to trailers and campers.
“It’s not anything we planned or predicted,” says Owens. “The Friday (July 7) when everything was changing, the community was changing and by the Sunday we ourselves at the pub had lost five staff members due to evacuation orders so people needed a place to go and we’ve got the space available and it just happened.”
Despite the challenges, the pair have cooked breakfast for evacuees. Food supplier Sysco have also helped by topping up the pub’s latest order.
More than that Owen says the Iron Horse has become a meeting place both for the community of around 300 people and evacuees.
“It’s been incredible. People just need a place to go and I must say, we’re taking donations and we’ve got evacuees donating to evacuees. I cry everyday – I have to do my makeup three times a day.”
Originally from North Delta, she said they only purchased the pub last August and notes they’ve been working 15-hour days since the wildfires began.
“It’s been a hell of a ride because the community just accepted us right away. I don’t think we’d change a thing, no matter how tired we are.”
*Editors Note: Due to an evacuation alert Owens says the pub closed its doors Saturday night until further notice*