BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Nearly one week since the Marshall Fire wreaked havoc on Boulder County, Coloradans are banding together stronger than ever. Lori Kelly opened the back of her SUV and choked up as she showed us what was inside.
“Look at this,” she exclaimed. “It’s stuff for my dogs. Slippers… This is overwhelming. Really overwhelming. People are so nice.”
She was able to get a lot of supplies she needed right away at a help center.
“I was always the one giving. Now I’m the one accepting.” Their home on the west side of Superior is gone. “We walked out, I had one shoe on and one slipper on.”
She’s finding people are being very good. At Walmart she stood in line with a cart full of things when a woman named Sylvia insisted she pay.
“I was sitting there talking to somebody about what happened to me and she paid my whole bill.”
It was $550.
“I just say how much I appreciate this and how much this means to us because we have nothing,” said Lori.
At the Sister Carmen Community Center in Lafayette things are busy.
“Many of them were staying at the shelters before,” said CEO Suzanne Crawford. Now, it’s days later. “We’re seeing a lot of people coming in for assistance with hotels.”
The non-denominational center has long helped people in the area, but the fire is proving a huge challenge and Coloradans are willing.
“We put out a call to the community saying, ‘yeah we need gift cards to department stores, to grocery stores, to restaurants to big box stores,’ and people starting showing up with those.”
Now as needs are going long-term there are new discussions.
“We’re really just at the beginning of our journey with this,” said Crawford. “We’re going to have to keep reassessing day by day.” Housing is likely to be the biggest challenge. “Boulder County’s housing situation was not great before the fire… And of course now the market is going to be saturated with even more people looking for places to rent.”
That could drive the market higher. Families are looking at housing in places far from their children’s schools, which may add to the stress.
“So it’s like, it’s like where are they going to go now? And what’s going to happen with the lower income folks that were struggling to be here and will they get pushed out?”
Among them, Scotty Roberts and Kortney Bell. They lived in a 32 foot 5th wheel trailer that’s now gone. Tuesday, they shared the story of Scotty’s efforts to save apparent fire victim Nadine Turnbull.
Almost immediately people reached out to help them as well. A man named Brian reached out to offer to buy them tires for their car, which has a smashed rear window and burned tires from the heat they endured while escaping.
“We set it up so we get tires on the car on Saturday. So that way we won’t be running on burned tires,” said Scotty. “Thank you for that,” smiled Kortney.
Scotty had slept better Tuesday night after relating the heartbreak of not being able to get Nadine Turnbull, a longtime friend, out of her home during the fire. But this day the couple was feeling the love of Colorado.
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“We’ve got cheesecake. We’ve got water. They got ham, eggs,” said Kortney as she showed a trunk full of groceries they’d obtained at the Sister Carmen Community Center. “It’s just a wonderful outpouring of humanity.”