“I saw many damages everywhere in this community,” said Magali Botello, an emergency response connector for the City of Boulder and a resident of Vista Village.
“A disaster — it was disaster in there. I have [lived for] 10 years … in this neighborhood,” she said. “It was so scary.”
Soon after the wind, it snowed.
In addition to power outages caused by the wildfire and the wind, Xcel Energy shut off electricity and natural gas service to many in Boulder County as a safety precaution.
“Oh my gosh, I don’t have a skirt. And [it is] a mobile home. The insulation is gone,” Botello said as she recalled the conversation she had with her husband when they learned a snowstorm was coming. “Nothing work[s] in here. [We] just put blankets around us and pray[ed].”
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The City of Boulder has distributed grants of $5,000 to some Vista Village residents to help pay for repairs. But they need more help. “They focus more on the fire people than the wind people,” Botello said. “Half of [my] mobile was twisted. You can see the cracks [in] the walls.”
Botello admits language is even more of a barrier for many of her neighbors. “The language is one of those things [that is] hard for the Latino community, because… they don’t have the privilege to speak English. The big problem… in this country [is] the people [are] scared.”
The urgency of a survivor
On several occasions, Paul Chinowsky’s team at Resilient Analytics has used his own home in Louisville to test the equity map. That is because Chinowsky is also a survivor of the Marshall Fire.
“I was involved with the fire, affected by it, so it meant something to me,” Chinowsky said during an interview with Rocky Mountain PBS. “And [the equity map] was a way that I felt we could help people out.”
The fire burned right up to Chinowsky’s back door. Within view of a fire station, firefighters saved his home by creating a fire line just beyond his back porch. That did not, however, save his home from smoke and water damage.