LaPorte residents James and Amanda Colwell and their daughters, Adisyn, 9 and Gracelynn, 8 went to bed early on the night of May 22. They’d just returned from vacation and they were tired. James fell asleep on the couch.
About midnight he was awakened by the smell of smoke and saw flames entering the kitchen from the garage. He ran immediately to the bedrooms, woke his wife and daughters and got them out of the house. The cat came along, but James had to return to retrieve their dog. “I just had time to grab my purse and my phone,” Amanda said. She called 911.
By the time they were out of the building, the garage and everything in it had exploded and gone up in flames. Their two cars were damaged beyond repair. Firefighters were able to keep the house from burning down completely but water and smoke left their furniture, other possessions and clothing damaged beyond repair. Amanda had recently dropped a renters’ insurance policy.
A neighbor, returning from a late shift as a security officer at Poudre Valley Hospital, had tried his best to awaken the family but they heard nothing. “The noise from the fire was so loud,” Amanda said.
The family had lived in their rented home for four-and-half years. Amanda had worried about the electrical wiring because she’d seen sparks. “The landlady assured me all was well,” she said. There were no smoke detectors in the house.
Bob Beavers, son of the property owner, contacted the North Forty News and said that there was “no notification (by the Colwells) of anything electrical told to or given to the property owner.”
The Colwells operated a health and wellness supplement business out of their home, an additional complication because all their equipment and supplies are now useless.
The family is now living in temporary housing and using a rental car provided by their church, Pathways, in Fort Collins, but that help ends in a few days. “Our first priority is to find a car,” Amanda said. “Our families live out of town and they don’t have a vehicle to lend us.” Once they have transportation, they will be able to stay with friends until they find a place of their own.
The Colwells want to thank the school, local businesses and everyone who has lent a hand to help them. They appreciate the unity and support that has blessed them.
Cache La Poudre Elementary, the girls’ school, has been collecting money and clothing to help the family out. They will be accepting donations until school is out, Friday May 29. Donations may be delivered to the CLP office. After May 29, donations can be taken to LaPorte Pizza, 3208 County Rd. 54G in LaPorte.