Vancouver family grateful after Whistler firefighters pull artwork from burning home

·2 min read
Dayson says Whistler firefighters plucked artwork off the walls as they fought the fire burning around them. (Submitted by James Dayson - image credit)
Dayson says Whistler firefighters plucked artwork off the walls as they fought the fire burning around them. (Submitted by James Dayson - image credit)

A Vancouver man says he's grateful to Whistler firefighters who salvaged artwork from his family's burning vacation home without even being asked.

Jaymes Dayson, 42, was tucking his children into bed on Wednesday around 8 p.m. when he received a text from his neighbour in Whistler that said the home was in flames.

Dayson said he was mostly relieved that his family was not in the property at the time, and that his neighbours and the firefighters who battled the flames were uninjured.

"Through the night, I was going through 'What have we lost?' For most things in a fire, most things can be replaced," he said.

Still, he thought of the items he'd miss: his children's ski school photos on the mantel, vintage Brent Lynch prints of Whistler he'd collected over the years and a painting of a cascading waterfall that he'd inherited from his grandparents.

Jaymes Dayson, pictured with his family, burst into tears when he saw what the firefighters had done for him.
Jaymes Dayson, pictured with his family, burst into tears when he saw what the firefighters had done for him.(Submitted by James Dayson)

On Thursday, Dayson headed to Whistler to survey the damage and meet with his insurance company. (The paintings are not of much value, he said.)

Firefighters had battled the fire, believed to have started in a barbecue on a neighbouring property, for three hours. The roof became fully engulfed in flames.

Dayson noticed the artwork was gone from the walls, but assumed they had burned or were buried in the debris and fire retardant on the ground.

The garage was the only area of the home that had escaped the flames completely. Dayson walked in and saw, in the back of his family's truck, the prints and paintings. He broke down and cried.

"I just started getting emotional because of the gesture they did … the firefighters, in the middle of putting out of the fire, putting their lives at risk going into a burning house, and they took all the pieces of art from our house and put them into the back of the Pathfinder to save them," he said.

"I've never heard of that.... I'm not someone who cries a lot and I bawled my eyes out. Those items will have even more significance knowing that they were saved."