A well-respected member of B.C.’s farming and agriculture community has received support from across the globe after a fire last week wiped out almost everything he had.
Dan Zeller, a Penticton-based farming supplier, lost his storage yard and supplies near Green Mountain Road on April 23, following a large blaze that sent thick black smoke through the west end of the city.
Local farmer Matthew Holler started an online fundraiser one day later.
Since then, a total of 115 donors have come together to raise $43,876, as of Friday afternoon, April 28, in support of Zeller and his family’s recovery.
“His family has received support from all over Canada, Germany, Italy and the United States thus far and it has been great to show the Zellers that there is a world full of people who love and care for them and want to see their family succeed long into the future,” Holler writes in a fundraiser update.
Holler added that many in the Okanagan’s farming industry rely on Zeller and the services he provides.
“This year has been extremely difficult for all farmers and with the cold weather damage we are facing an uncertain yield, and things are tight enough as it is,” he writes. “I am encouraging the entire farming community to support Dan and his family in his time of need. We as a community can help get him through this together.”
The fire destroyed two trailers, dozens of wine barrels, tires, wood posts and other debris, according to Penticton’s assistant fire chief Rob Trupp.
At around 4:15 p.m. last Sunday, the blaze sparked behind the Feedway at Green Mountain Road and near the Channel Parkway.
Its cause is under investigation by the Penticton Indian Band fire department.
Along with financial support, the fundraiser asks for people to help Zeller and his family with hauling away garbage and sorting out materials at the property.
“Once the charred heavy metal wreckage is gone and the site has been cleared and safe, there will be a clean up day with rakes, shovels and hand tools,” Holler writes.