Fire victims want answers and justice
Black Forest and Waldo Canyon react to fire investigation
News of the Black Forest fire investigation has been hard for Black Forest and Waldo Canyon fire victims to hear.
Both communities are moving forward after those devastating fires. One thing they share in common: wanting justice if someone is responsible.
"This used to be where I lived. That was my house right there,” said Black Forest fire victim Michelle Andree.
Andree walked us through the snow in Black Forest on Friday night (11/22/13) to the place she used to call home.
“Yeah, it used to be. Not anymore,” she said.
Four months after the fire, KRDO broke the news that Fire Chief Bob Harvey says it may have been set on purpose.
"The fact that they think it is arson; I hope that they can find the person that's responsible because they don't understand what effect they had,” said Andree.
The effect for Michelle is beyond emotional. She had to move into a mobile home that is barely adequate during these freezing cold nights.
"I've got to get some skirting around my camper to prevent the wind from going around it,” said Andree.
In Black Forest for people like Michelle living in motor homes, they have to use a propane tank and an electric heater to stay warm, but in the Waldo Canyon 70 percent of the homes are rebuilt or are being rebuilt. So heating the home is a lot easier.
Waldo Fire victim Carla Albers moved into her new home in May.
"Not until you get back into your home can you really start to have closure over an event like we went through, said Albers.
Although investigators haven't found the cause of the Waldo Canyon Fire, she shares the same feelings as Michelle.
"I think that if somebody did this, intentionally started this, that there need to be repercussions," said Albers. "I would love for them to see the faces of the people that they impacted."
In the meantime, Michelle at least has found peace.
"Being out here gives me a sense where I can escape that,” she said outside her motor home.
The Black Forest community is working together to try to help people like Michelle find long-term solutions to staying warm. For now, she's been staying in a hotel paid by a generous business owner.
We'll have results of our four month investigation into failings during the Black Forest Fire beginning Monday night (11/25/13) - an important story for our community.
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