St. Malo Fire Brings Consequences
On Monday morning, November 14, 2011, many local lives were radically changed when a fire ravaged the nearby St. Malo Retreat and Conference Center, located between Allenspark and Estes Park, Colorado.
Amidst cold and extremely windy conditions, 14 fire departments worked together to control a large fire that heavily damaged the facility.
Most area residents experienced the ferociously strong winds two nights before, which downed trees and caused various power outages in a 200+ mile radius. Included was St. Malo Center, where guests and residents were forced to use the large central fireplace for heat. For reasons that are unclear, the fire did originate in the roof structure near the upper chimney; the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has officially classified the fire as accidental.
Overnight, 12 long-term, local residents and workers suddenly lost their living. Although St. Malo is a Catholic owned facility, not all workers are of the Catholic faith, but all were committed to working there and making it a place of peace and rest for people of many faiths who came to this beautiful retreat center.
Although employment checks were extended through December 31st, and due to the fact that St. Malo was a non-profit center for spiritual healing and growth, there are no unemployment benefits available for them. The employees of St. Malo are now facing the reality of being out of not only a job, but a paycheck, especially as our economic times are also in a state of uncertainty.
Just as the employees helped touch many lives, they now need a touch from people to help them survive until they can get new employment. Although resumes have gone out and several appeals made and offerings have been taken at local churches, there are more immediate needs surfacing.
As donations have come in, they are already being disbursed according to the most emergent needs of St. Malo’s former staff, (utilities, medical, auto repair and housing costs).
Donations can be made to U.S. Bank: St. Malo Relief Fund (363 E. Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517), or through Our Lady of the Mountains (P.O. Box 1706, Estes Park, CO 80517; Memo: St. Malo Relief Fund). Allocation disclosures can be obtained through Our Lady of the Mountains parish office.
Please pray for the leadership, the inspiration, and for those who will rebuild St. Malo – hopefully, some day soon. God bless you, and thank you for however you can help.