LOUISVILLE, Colo. — The stories of those who lost everything in the Marshall Fire are all different, but have a common thread. For one woman in Louisville, her loss comes after an especially tough two years of the pandemic.
Kim Christensen has worked at Centura Avista Adventist Hospital for 18 years. She has been a nurse since 2002.
“I was taking care of my patients and looked out the window and saw the big black plume of smoke," said Christensen, recalling the day of the fire. “I was hopeful, but I really didn't think we would have a home to come back to.”
Christensen's home burned that day. She returned to her house from work with only a couple of minutes to grab some items before leaving the neighborhood. It was the home where she raised her children.
“I can't believe it's February. Like, where did the last month go?" Christensen said. “It's funny because I can still picture the community the way it was.”
Christensen has already gone back to work at the hospital, which she is grateful was spared from the Marshall Fire.
“It's like my home. It was my home before this was my home," she said.
She has cared for countless patients with COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic. Christensen said it is what she was trained for, but never realized would actually happen.
“You don't want to wish anybody to see that," she sighed. “The pandemic is still here, along with the fire.”
With both the pandemic and the Marshall Fire, an end sometimes seems out of reach.
“Biggest fear going forward is the cost — how much it will be to rebuild," Christensen said. “We're all in this together. You know, everyone heard that throughout the pandemic, but this feels a little bit closer knit.”
As a result of donations in the Denver7 Gives Wildfire Relief Fund, Christensen will have her mortgage paid through the end of the year.
"Thank you to everybody that's donated," Christensen said in shock. “I'm telling you every day there's more blessings. This is a huge one.”