Five Vail Valley families displaced need help after fire guts trailer in Minturn
To help with housing or other needs, call the Salvation Army Vail Valley, 970-748-0704, or the Red Cross at 970-306-9152.
MINTURN — Llewellyn Glahn was sleeping on her couch in front of the TV when the fire broke out. She dashed toward the front door as her son Brett came out of his room asking, “What’s up with all the smoke?!”
She shouted at Brett and roommate Chris Smith to get out.
Both were already on their way, Smith diving out a window just a few feet ahead of the flames.
Their trailer was quickly engulfed, although firefighters with the Eagle River Fire Protection District managed to contain the flames to one trailer.
Glahn, though, stood shoeless in the snow, cold and dark early Wednesday morning, March 28, watching her home burn.
“I’ve never had strep throat, but the smoke hurt so bad,” Glahn said.
Glahn’s is one of five families displaced and scrambling for a place to live.
“This is the kind of community that helps people in need,” said Tsu Wolin Brown, executive director of the Vail Valley Salvation Army chapter. “I’m hoping that kind people can step up.”
Five families displaced
After the fire, Xcel energy inspected several other trailers. Inspectors determined that besides Glahn’s, four others were not safe, and turned off their natural gas service.
It became a safety issue and a potentially dangerous situation, explained Mark Stutz with Xcel Energy.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army worked with Avon’s Comfort Inn to house the five families for a few days.
“The Comfort Inn and Red Cross have been wonderful,” Jeannie Lucero said.
For now, they have a warm place to stay and food to eat. That will change early next week when they’ll probably have to find somewhere else to stay.
Healthy and thankful
Several of the family members sat down Friday afternoon, March 30, in the Comfort Inn lobby to talk. They’re healthy and thankful.
“The good news is that we are all alive. No one was hurt,” Lucero said.
Lucero was born here and has lived here her entire life. She raised her children and grandchildren here, works multiple jobs and is proud to call the valley her family’s home.
Ciarra Lujan did not have time to talk. She was on her way from her first job to her second, as were several others.
“These are all hardworking people, all working two or more jobs,” Wolin Brown said.
They said they’re thankful to the Quintana family that owns the trailer park for keeping their rents low for years. However, they’re not sure where they’ll go.
The trailer park owner offered electrical space heaters to heat the homes, but inspectors determined that the trailers’ wiring might not stand up to that.
Because the gas has been shut off, the structures do not have access to heat and hot water, required under the international building codes, said Mike Sawyer, Minturn’s town attorney.
“While people are celebrating Easter, these people are in a hotel,” Wolin Brown said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minturn is the latest local government to seek to change its laws in an effort to keep tobacco and nicotine products out of the hands of teens.