A Woodland Park woman claims she was fired from her job after evacuating during the Waldo Canyon fire.
Denise Thompson was a manager at Cenex, a gas station owned by Monte Vista Coop off Highway 24.
During the fire, she said she was told by management she could not close the store down until a mandatory evacuation order was put in place.
"I was told, 'If you get a mandatory, shut the store down. Your life is more important than the store,'" she said.
When her home in Forest Edge park went under a mandatory evacuation, she closed down the store and left to start packing.
The store was not under a mandatory evacuation.
Thompson said her assistant manager's home was also in the evacuation zone. She also left work and went home to pack.
Thompson said she had no place to stay close by, so she went to her daughter's house in Centennial.
During this time, Thompson said the company paid for a motel room for another employee and her family.
"They paid for four days for her and her family to stay in a motel. I was never offered that," said Thompson.
When the evacuations were lifted, Thompson returned to work. She said the first day back went smooth, but on the second day, she was demoted from manager to store clerk.
She was told she made too much money and that the company was doing a management change, she said.
"It (the store) had money problems from day one, before I even started there," said Thompson.
A few days later, after training an employee, she said she was fired.
"He (Thompson's boss) said 'Well, I talked to the new operations manager. She decided she is content with the staff she has, and there's no place for you,'" said Thompson.
A response from General Manager Mike Boothe was emailed Thursday morning, it states:
"The Monte Vista Cooperative which operates the CENEX store on Highway 24 in Woodland Park understands and sympathizes with everyone who was impacted by the tragic events of the Waldo Fire including our store manager and assistant manager who lived in areas that were subject to mandatory evacuations. We provided support and assistance to our employees who had to evacuate and needed that assistance and would have extended the same to any other employee who would have asked.
On the other hand, authorities had asked that we keep the store open so that we could provide fuel and supplies to evacuees and fire fighters. Nevertheless, Ms. Thompson made a unilateral decision to close the store at a time when it was not under an evacuation order and we had been requested to keep it open. We had other employees who were willing and able to keep it open.
Our decision to make personnel changes at the store was made prior to this closing of the store and that decision was not in any way based on these events. As this was a personnel decision made independently of any consideration of the events arising from the fire and evacuations, out of fairness to Ms. Thompson, we cannot and will not discuss the factors that went into those decisions.
We are very sorry,however, that our services at that location were not kept available to the people impacted by the fire and those heroic individuals who were fighting it."