Carrie Foster, housemate Robin Morris and Morris’ two sons, Corey , 11, and Kolton, 7, are on the road to recovery after losing all of their possessions in a blaze that destroyed their house the evening of July 10.
Foster was coming home after baby-sitting her 5-month-old grandson when she noticed “toxic black smoke” as she turned onto Farraday Road east of Durango in the Sundance Hills subdivision.
Foster had recently rented a room in the rental house that she shared with Morris and her two boys.
“I thought nobody should be burning now. Never for one minute did it cross my mind that it might be our house,” Foster said. “I rounded a corner and, boom, there were fire trucks in front of the house. I didn’t realize it was our house until I was right up on it.”
No one was home when the fire began around 7:10 p.m. The blaze remains under investigation by the Los Pinos Fire Protection District.
The most serious loss in the fire was the Morris family’s 4-month-old puppy, Shiloh, who died in the garage.
Morris said: “He was just a puppy. He was the sweetest thing, a purebred Lab. He was just a baby so we think he got scared and cowered and hid instead of trying to find a way out of the garage.”
A neighbor opened a gate to let the Morris’ 2-year-old dog, Oliver, out.
Oliver hung out around the perimeter of the fire, scared to come to anyone until Robin Morris arrived at the house the night it burned.
The Morrises had been in Farmington celebrating a belated birthday party for Kolton when the fire broke out.
The neighbor who let Oliver out also sprayed water on one of the home’s exterior walls. It was the only wall to remain standing during the blaze.
A Facebook fundraiser, called “Robins house fire total loss,” has been set up to help Morris and her boys.
As of Sunday, the page had raised $5,425 with a stated goal of $8,000.
Foster’s daughter, Kelsey Foster, has organized a GoFundMe page for her mother called Help Carrie Rebuild. It has raised $7,235 as of Sunday with a goal set at $5,555.
A religious journaler, Foster said her greatest loss was her personal journals dating back to the 1970s. She’s using baking soda to try to salvage some of the books that are still legible.
Morris, 30, a senior environmental studies major at Fort Lewis College, said she is especially looking forward to being able to get her two boys some clothing, school supplies and new bicycles before school resumes in August.
The next biggest chore will be looking for a new place to live.
Foster and Morris have developed a strong friendship in the two weeks they have known each other, and they are looking for a place to live together, something that will also allow them to share expenses.
“Finding another rental is probably our biggest hurdle,” Morris said. “Durango just doesn’t have a lot of housing right now, and I’m a full-time student.
“I can’t pay $2,000 a month for a home as a single person, because literally that’s my max income in a month, it’s about $2,000.”