After house fire, Gypsum family is rebuilding its life |

After house fire, Gypsum family is rebuilding its life

Sarah Mausolf
NWS fire relocation 1 KA 03-27-10

GYPSUM – Kim Steggall watched in horror as flames consumed her Dotsero home earlier this month.

“It just felt like a bad dream,” she said.

Now, the expectant mom and her two sons are trying to get back on their feet after finding a home to rent in Gypsum.

When the fire broke out, Steggall had been in Glenwood Springs for a prenatal doctor’s appointment.

Her oldest son, 15-year-old Matthew, discovered the smoke when he arrived home from a fishing trip. He dashed inside the house to save the family’s two English bulldogs.

When Steggall and her younger son, 11-year-old Ronnie, got to their home, which stood in the Dotsero Mobile Home Park, it was surrounded by fire trucks and spewing smoke. Ronnie asked firefighters to get his iguana.

“We saved the dogs, so I wanted him to live,” he said.

As firefighters battled the blaze, they saved some of the photographs hanging on the walls, but smoke ruined much of the family’s belongings, Steggall said.

The fire ripped through the attic and engulfed the outside walls of the home, Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Mike McWilliam said.

“I believe it’s a total loss,” he said.

McWilliam said an electrical glitch caused the fire. The family had insurance on the trailer itself but not the contents of the home.

“If we’re lucky, they might pay off the mortgage, but they’re not covering any personal items,” Steggall said.

She felt defeated as she watched her home burn.

“Just sitting there, watching your house burn up with basically you’re life in there – I just felt really lost,” she said. “I didn’t know what we were going to do or where we were going to go.”

Unsure where to turn, Steggall soon discovered the upside of living in a small, close-knit community. The manager of the AmericInn in Eagle let Steggall and her boys stay in a suite for nearly two weeks.

“When I met her, she just seemed so nice,” inn manager Lonnie Leto said. “It was such a terrible story. I let her stay as long as I could.”

The family also slept in the SilverLeaf Suites in Eagle for several more nights as they contemplated their future. With her baby boy due next month, Steggall took on the overwhelming task of finding a new home.

“I’m supposed to be on bed rest,” Steggall said. “It’s been really hard just trying to get everything together.”

Her biggest concern was how her sons were handling the aftermath of the fire.

“I think it’s been really hard for them, but they’re doing really good,” she said.

Fellow parents at Red Hill Elementary, where Ronnie goes to school, rallied behind Steggall, sending out an e-mail to help her find a home to rent.

Finally, she found a three-bedroom house in Gypsum.

Steggall said she’s grateful for all the support she’s received.

“The whole community has been really great,” she said.

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