Some Black Forest Fire victims said El Paso County has left them hanging. They are upset there is not a victims’ assistance center closer to home, and think the community took the Waldo Canyon Fire far more seriously.
Fire victims need to go to the El Paso County Citizen Service Center, on 1675 West Garden of the Gods Road, for assistance. It is 16 miles away from Black Forest, which is about a 30 minute drive.
“I don't make very much an hour. I can barely get by. I haven't paid my bills because i need the money. I've put in tank of gas like every other day trying to do everything,” said Vicki Contreras, a fire victim how has made the drive several times.
Contreras lost her mobile home in the black forest fire, and she wasn't insured.
“I just borrowed a camper to sleep in,” said Contreras of her current living situation.
Amanda Davis helps people like Contreras. Davis runs Crosses for Losses; a shop gives necessities to Black Forest Fire victims for free. The shop runs off of donations.
She says a disaster service center is needed in Black Forest.
“Why? Why are they not being brought here? It doesn't make any sense to me. We are not such a tiny place that people can't come and set up and take care of things,” said Davis.
KRDO NewsChannel13 went to County commissioner Darryl Glenn for answers. He said citizens don’t always have to make the drive to get help because they can call, but he didn’t say why there was no center closer to the burn zone.
“What we want to do is find out exactly what we can help them with. We are getting requests for people to volunteer to help clean up property. You don't need to leave your house for that,” said Glenn.
But as Contreras picked up some clothes and food she said getting straight answers on the phone can be tough.
If you are trying to get in touch with the county call 719-444-8301
Crosses for Losses is taking monetary donation to keep the shop open. To make a donation you can call 719-495-8831.