As Kamloops residents awoke Friday to the news of a hostage-taking that ended in explosions, a fire-torn home and a man presumed dead by his own hand, people were already being commended for the parts they played.
The City's emergency co-ordinator Alisha Beday was called just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday by RCMP, giving her the heads up that a temporary reception area would be needed for residents being evacuated from their Dufferin homes.
Within an hour, the emergency support services team had the Parkside Lounge of the Interior Savings Centre ready.
There were tables and chairs, registration forms to co-ordinate contact information or family calls and a TV set for the latest news updates.
"Some residents started coming down just before 8 o'clock, they started trickling in," she said. "We ended up seeing about a dozen."
Most of them eventually left to stay with friends or relatives. Beday said only two people needed a hotel room for the night.
"We were paged at about 6:40 a.m., to tell people they could go back."
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said the residents who were evacuated from their homes understood police concerns and were to be commended for their co-operation.
At a time when they could be getting ready for the long weekend, they were asked to leave their homes under uncertain circumstances for an indefinite length of time.
"People understood why they had to leave and why we took the measures that we did," he said, calling the situation "beyond the realm of normal protocols."
And now that most people's lives are returning to normal, a friend of the woman who was taken hostage is appealing to the community for help.
Virginia Rogers said her friend, a 44-year-old single mother with two girls ages 13 and eight, and two boys 11 and nine, lost everything in the fire, even the family pets — a couple of hamsters, a mouse and a fish.
Anyone who can give is asked to call Rogers at 778-220-2530.