Windermere evacuees moving forward, moving on

Three months after deadly fire, former neighbors gather

Posted 2/18/19

The room was filled with smiles. Three months after an early-morning fire at Littleton's Windermere apartments left a man dead, many injured and more than 160 residents homeless, dozens of former …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Windermere evacuees moving forward, moving on

Three months after deadly fire, former neighbors gather

Posted

The room was filled with smiles.

Three months after an early-morning fire at Littleton's Windermere apartments left a man dead, many injured and more than 160 residents homeless, dozens of former residents convened at Littleton United Methodist Church to catch up.

At an afternoon tea on hosted by Love Inc., a Christian charity network, the former evacuees gathered around tables with old friends on the day after Valentine's Day, basking in the company and friendship of their former neighbors.

“It feels great,” said Barbara Fry, 80. “Everyone here came through such dark days and nights, and now we're a lot more upbeat.”

Fry recently moved into a new apartment in Wheat Ridge.

“It has excellent fire protection,” said Fry, who was evicted from the Windermere once before, when a similar fire forced a mass evacuation in 2016. “Every room has sprinklers. That was the first thing I asked every apartment complex I called.”

The Windermere, owned by Stephen Tebo and Heath Orvis, does not have a building-wide fire sprinkler system

The building's owners have received a demolition permit for the building's interior, said Bill Tracy, Littleton's chief building official on Feb. 13.  They have not yet applied for permits to begin renovating the building, he added. 

Some evacuees are still struggling. Jerald Ferrero and his wife Judy have been living at a Motel 6 on Arapahoe Road since the fire. After a fruitless apartment search and frustration with the response of local officials, Ferrero said they're giving up and heading back to their native Chicago.

“If it weren't for the fire, we probably would have stayed here until we died,” Ferrero said.

Life is starting to settle for many of the evacuees, said Linda Haley, Arapahoe County's Senior Resources manager.

At least 110 of the evacuees have found new places to live, Haley said, though her office is still working with roughly 20 people who are still searching for homes.

“As always, we are still looking for places that accept Section 8 housing vouchers and are accessible to people with disabilities,” Haley said.

In the meantime, Love Inc. is still working to provide resources and assistance for evacuees, said Kathryn Roy, the group's executive director.

Love Inc. volunteers passed out gift cards to the evacuees at the event, bought with donated funds. Evacuees also took home a contact list, with phone numbers and email addresses for their former neighbors.

“Today is so different than that awful Saturday morning,” Roy said, referring to the day of the fire on Nov. 17. “From the height of trauma, we're coming to a better place.”

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.