Slocan Valley resident Jane Flotran takes her turn at the microphone in Winlaw on Tuesday night.

Slocan Valley resident Jane Flotran takes her turn at the microphone in Winlaw on Tuesday night.

Slocan Valley mother shares ordeal

Tuesday night’s public information meeting in Winlaw provided many first-hand accounts of how the jet fuel spill affected residents.

Tuesday night’s public information meeting at the Winlaw Community Hall provided many first-hand accounts of how the jet fuel spill in Lemon Creek has turned lives upside-down. Few were more compelling than that of Jane Flotron and her family.

Flotron was one of the first speakers to address the panel of officials assembled to provide information and answer questions. With the packed hall behind her, an emotional Flotron calmly expressed her frustration with what has taken place since an Executive Flight Centre tanker truck spilled 33,000 litres of jet fuel into Lemon Creek on Friday afternoon.

“I’m very concerned about the health of my family and the health of my community,” said Flotron, who owns a small farm one kilometre from where the spill took place.

She went on to tell authorities about how she has spent the three days since the evacuation order was lifted, attempting to rid her home and property of the smells and residual damage caused by the spill.

With an 11-year-old daughter and midway through a pregnancy, Flotron said it has been extremely trying.

“My personal experience going on in my own home and my own neighbourhood is really concerning,” she said. “I still get residual smells of jet fuel in my home… all my linens and organic materials have absorbed the smell of jet fuel.”

For three days she has worked three hours a day which is the amount of time she feels is safe for her own health.

“It’s mostly laundering linens and scrubbing surfaces… by the end of that my hands smell like jet fuel,” she said.

Flotron and her husband breed and train horses on their small farm. They supplement that by raising other livestock and growing food. Flotran also has five-year crops of goldenseal and echinacea to sell at markets which she says may now be ruined.

At the end of her turn at the microphone, Regional District of Central Kootenay regional fire chief Terry Swan told Flotron: “You will get help and it will be immediate.”

Outside the meeting, Flotron told local media she frustrated by the response so far.

“I think the seriousness that is still occurring now is more than what is being portrayed in the media or spoken to by most of the authorities here tonight,” she said. “I have not heard it being taken seriously enough by those decision making authorities.”

After being evacuated in the middle of the night Friday/Saturday, Flotron and her family returned to their property on Saturday afternoon and immediately began making phone calls to the RDCK, Interior Health and Ministry of Environment for help.

“I got the absolute minimal amount of actual evidence-based information, it’s been a lot of speculation,” she said. “When I first contacted people on Saturday I was talking to people in Kelowna and Vancouver and Cranbrook, I realized they really didn’t get what was going on. When I shared with them my personal experience, I recognized there is a huge gap in communication and getting that information to the decision makers who can organize direct action on the clean up.

“There needs to be a much more highly coordinated response from all of the ministries who are dealing with this situation.”

Between trying to clean up her property, Flotron said the amount of time she has spent trying to get answers has been an unneeded distraction.

“We have to be our own advocates and that is hard to do in the middle of a crisis when you are just trying to get through the day in taking care of a family,” she said.

Running out of patience, Flotron said Tuesday night that her family may leave the property and call in a hazmat crew of their own because they feel it is unsafe to be there for much longer.

“People have expressed great levels of concern after talking to me and I did feel like they were taking my concerns seriously, but I haven’t heard back from anybody yet,” she said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caroline Lafond is a Recreation Fish and Wildlife student at Selkirk College. Photo: Submitted
Ecological Comment: Help keep the goats of Gimli wild

A column written by Recreation Fish and Wildlife students at Selkirk College

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Nelson Police responded to 802 calls last year they say had an element of mental health. File photo
Nelson Police: 802 mental-health related calls in 2020

That accounts for 12 per cent of total calls for service

Several large trees came down in the recent windstorm and destroyed a part of the building that houses Camp Koolaree’s showers and boy’s washroom. The camp has served generations of Kootenay families since 1931 as the Nelson area’s longest running children’s summer camp. Photo: Submitted
Camp Koolaree’s wash house destroyed by January windstorms

The camp is in need of donations to make repairs

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read