WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Hundreds in Boulder County are now trying to figure out how to rebuild, while hundreds of others still can’t return, even if their home did survive the fires.
Matt Finnigan’s hotel room in Westminster isn’t ideal, but his family is making the most of it.
“It is challenging,” Finnigan said. “I think the hardest part is seeing neighbors, who you care about deeply, suffer complete losses of homes.”
Finnigan, his wife, three kids and two big dogs, Carly and Bailey, are currently living out of a hotel room at the Hyatt Place in Westminster.
“We’ve seen people from all over the state come to help,” he said. “And we’re the lucky ones. Our home was about 100 yards from the fire. There’s a lot of kids in our neighborhood who don’t have homes to go home to.”
Danielle Henshaw and her family are staying at the Hyatt Place as well, where the hotel manager’s mom, Cheryl, helped coordinate and gather essentials for fire victims coming and going.
“Here it’s been amazing,” Henshaw said. “We are amazingly lucky and grateful.
Her home survived, but many of her neighbors weren’t so fortunate.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Henshaw said. “It’s neighbor after neighbor, friend after friend who have lost their homes.”
Many who didn’t lose their homes still can’t return, at least not until the smoke, ash and toxic fumes are mitigated.
“We returned from out-of-town and we said, 'Our house never looked so good and smelled so bad,'” Henshaw said.
“It’s not just ash from a piece of wood,” Finnigan said. “It’s plastic, it’s corrosive, it’s chemicals.”
For now, they’ll call the Hyatt Place home, an extended family who are all in this together.
“I walked in and there’s neighbors from the next street over,” Henshaw said.
“They’re having to mop up constantly, and there’s dogs coming and going and everybody’s got their kids,” Finnigan said. “The accommodations here have been beyond great.”
From housing to food banks and everything else in between, there are many ways people affected by the Marshall Fire can get help — and how you can help — following last week's devastating wildfire. Click here for more.