LOUISVILLE, Colo. — In the days following the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, a Louisville couple is still trying to understand why the fire spared their house as devastation surrounds it.
"We just thought there's no way our house ... is going to make it," said Jeff Caliguire.
He and his wife, Mindy, watched live on TV as the flames got closer and closer to their doorstep. They believe firefighters' quick thinking of turning on a sprinkler just a door down saved their home on Vista Lane.
"All these houses would have been gone had they not done that … and including ours," Jeff said.
The Caliguires consider themselves lucky as the last two homes they lived in over the years were destroyed in the fire.
"It's both gratitude as well as, you know, why us?" Jeff said. "Why did our house make it when the house right next door, two doors down, didn't?"
As the two still try to answer that question, they believe it's given them a purpose.
While Jeff and Mindy hoped to have their home serve as a hub of sorts for neighbors, smoke damage isn't allowing them to go inside, so they've had to turn to Zoom meetings.
"It was my neighbor who first had the idea, and she had the relational network with everybody, got everybody on a text message chain and then set up the initial Zoom call," Mindy said.
Those calls have been going on since New Year's Day, with Mindy helping to facilitate them.
"We're just creating space to hear people's stories," she said. "Where are they at? What do you need? How are your kids?"
Most neighbors, she says, just want someone to listen as they navigate the complexities of rebuilding.
"If that's the littlest thing I can do to help lighten their load, then I'm absolutely going to do that," Mindy said.
She hopes people in other neighborhoods whose homes also survived the fire find ways to reach out to those who weren't as lucky.
"Even if it's just putting up a Zoom link … how can we let people tell their story a little bit? How can we let them know we see them and we care about them?" Mindy said.
While their neighbors' homes and spirits may be broken for now, the benefits of having a sympathetic ear to bend will go a long way in easing some of the pain of recovery.
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. Click here for more.