Jamie Paish did not expect to be woken up in the early morning hours of July 2 with news that his house was on fire.
At the time, Paish was living in a trailer out at Box Lake working as the host for the Box Lake Campground. Around 4:30 a.m. a friend started pounding on his door, yelling at him to wake up.
“At first I just thought he was goofing around, and he’s like, ‘Your house is on fire, your house is on fire,’ said Paish. He said, ‘Jamie, your house is on fire, in town, right now. Let’s go.’ It was like ‘bing’ eyes open, and we were gone.”
Arriving on the scene, Paish was greeted with the sight of firefighters and fire trucks along with police officers and civilians watching from a safe distance.
Seeing the fire trucks was what really made the whole thing sink in.
“As soon as I saw the fire trucks I just sighed,” he said. “There was smoke billowing out of the house, and of course you couldn’t go near it, so we sat on his deck and watched until I had seen enough of it and went back to the lake.”
Paish took a couple of days to process what had happened and then started thinking about what he was going to do. After much thought, he decided to go with his original plan, which was to live off-grid.
Paish was amazed at the amount of support he has received from the community. From the time of the fire, even up to now, he is still being offered assistance. Many people would often come into the Three Lions Pub, where Paish is employed, leaving envelopes with money for him. So far about $5,000 in donations has been raised, but that’s not all.
On Nov. 26 a fundraiser titled the Burned Out and Broke Fundraiser was held at the Three Lions Pub. By the end of the night, about $2,000 was raised.
For Paish the hardest struggle has been his inability to help someone if they need something he used to have.
“A lot of it is people wishing ‘Oh, I wish I had a meat grinder,’ or something like that, and I’m like ‘I’ve got that, oh, no I don’t have one of those.’ A lot of that has happened,” he said. “Everything was in the house.”
Paish has been asked why he chooses to stay in Nakusp, and his reasoning is simple.
“People have been like ‘Why do you live in Nakusp? Why don’t you go to Fort Mac or somewhere like that and make some money?’ Because this town is like family. I love this town.”