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Victims of East Troublesome Fire get first look at destruction

Diane Williamson lost home of 46 years
grand co east troublesome fire victim.JPG
Posted at 5:06 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-07 15:36:59-05

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — When does a charred, mangled chair become a blessing? Or a mostly-intact tiny figurine become a treasure?

Certainly, when they are the few things you can salvage.

“This is an old ice cream parlor chair,” Diane Williamson said as she pulled the chair's blackened skeleton from the pile of ash and debris where her home once stood.

“I’m just in awe, Williamson said. "You figure everything would have melted.”

For Williamson, this is a tough moment.

“It’s been home for 46 years,” Williamson said. “The kids were born and raised here and it’s home.”

It’s the first time she’s seen the destruction since that fateful night.

“I got a text from a girlfriend’s daughter saying, ‘Get out and get out now,’” she said. “I left the front and back doors unlocked and headed down the road.”

She knew this day was coming. She already had confirmation her home was gone.

“(Denver) 7 News went by and showed it on that,” Williamson said.

It still doesn’t make it easy. What does make it more bearable is the amount of support.

“You can see the kind of people that live up here,” Williamson said as she pointed to about a dozen or so friends and neighbors who were helping her sift through debris Friday afternoon.

“Everybody’s willing to help each other,” Williamson said.

“Well, it’s really the body of Christ that we need to take care of each other,” said Father Peter Wojda of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Grand County. “It’s beautiful how many people have shown up in different ways.”

Williamson said she will rebuild.

“In something like this, you know, everybody reacts in a different way,” Williamson said, “and I feel like I have to look at this as a new adventure. We will rebuild.”

There are those treasures that remain in the midst of destruction.

“My deceased husband built the bluebird houses and they survived the fire,” Williamson said pointing to three birdhouses on a fence that appeared to be untouched by the fire. “We’re survivors. I can’t imagine going anywhere else.”

Williamson's friends set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who wishes to help.