The search for missing Cache Creek Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy has become a recovery operation, Ashcroft RCMP Sgt. Kathleen Thain said on the morning of Sunday, May 7.
“We’re continuing the search for Clayton,” says the fire chief’s brother Patrick, the family spokesperson. “But we’ve come to the realization that it has gone to recovery.”
Ten search and rescue volunteers, as well as members of the Cache Creek and Kamloops fire departments, are continuing the search both on the ground and in the air.
Members of the Cache Creek fire department, who are all feeling their fire chief’s absence, just want to bring Clayton home at this point, and are very focused on that effort. They are assisting with the search, as are members of the Kamloops fire department. Two members of the Ashcroft fire department are in Cache Creek with Engine 3, to provide mutual aid if necessary.
Quiet rooms, where the volunteers can go if they need privacy or down-time, have been established at the Cache Creek Community Hall, adjacent to the fire hall, and at Cache Creek Elementary School.
Patrick says that family members have spent the morning on bridge watch and checking areas of the creek that had been previously searched. “We’re watching the water, trying to find the body or a piece of clothing, something that was Clayton’s.”
Rose Cassidy, Clayton’s wife, is doing as well as can be expected, says Patrick. “She has a lot of fight in her. There’s lots of friends and family that are assisting her.
“The wonderful thing is the villages and the local people, and the family members that are up here, are giving as much support as she needs.
“We certainly appreciate everything everybody has done. It’s been absolutely amazing. Giving us support in our time of need is phenomenal.”
Asked about the mood of the family when they heard that the search had switched to a recovery mission, Patrick says some family members had that in mind already.
“It may not have been as shocking to some of us, but when the word changed from search and rescue to recovery at a meeting [Saturday] night, the room fell silent, and it was extremely difficult. A lot of hugging, a lot of crying.
“Even though we were hopeful, some of us had a feeling we were in recovery mode from the beginning when we got here, just because of the circumstances.
“We just want closure and to bring him home.”