Aid rolls in for fire victims


Need for long-term housing remains

  • Donations have poured in for victims of a house fire near Brush Creek Road.
    Donations have poured in for victims of a house fire near Brush Creek Road.

Donations of everything from homemade food to shoes and gift cards continue to come in for the victims of a Dec. 28 house fire.

The multi-family home, known as the “Solar House,” burned to the ground on the west side of Hwy. 135, directly across from the Brush Creek Road turnoff. The blaze, likely caused by a fireplace on the first floor, killed two family pets. Luckily, the eight residents of the home were unharmed.

The house was divided into two units, one with a single family of four. The other unit was home to four roommates.

Stephanie Dietrich of Dietrich Dirtwork and Construction has been aiding the fire victims since the blaze left them displaced and with most of their personal belongings destroyed.

Dietrich employs James Tafoya at Dietrich Dirtwork and Construction. When she heard of the fire, she began organizing donation locations and nailing down needs for the victims.

James Tafoya resided in the top unit with his wife and two children. The family had made the move to Crested Butte from Manitou Springs earlier this summer. The bottom unit was rented by Mike Sharan, Gavin McLaughlin, Eric Rankin and Harlan Hudson.

James’s wife, Regina Tafoya said securing housing has been the biggest challenge since being displaced.

“We’re in awe,” said Regina Tafoya of the efforts to help both her family and others who lost everything in the fire.

After the fire, Regina Tafoya said she had considered moving back to Manitou Springs given the uncertainty of finding housing in the Gunnison Valley.

But, after the Crested Butte community showed their support and a family friend offered their home until the Tafoyas were settled, she was inspired to stay.

“This has really highlighted the need for housing,” said Regina Tafoya.

The Tafoya family is still on the hunt for a long-term home in the valley that’s both affordable and dog friendly.

The roommates who resided on the lower level are also still searching for long-term housing, ideally two, two-bedroom units in the Town of Crested Butte.

The family and each of the four roommates have set up GoFundMe campaigns for donations following their loss.

Additionally, there is a drop off at Butte Bagels in the Town of Crested Butte for Sharan, McLaughlin and Rankin.

Dietrich said there is no more clothing or shoes needed after the Gunnison Valley community quickly gathered their wares.

“The community stepped up immediately and all affected are warm and have more than they need thanks to everyone Dietrich said.

(Kate Gienapp can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or kate@gunnisontimes.corn.)



> To help James Tafoya and his family:

> To help roommates Mike Sharan, Gavin McLaughlin, Eric Rankin and Harlan Hudson, visit the GoFundMe website and search by individual name.

> Donations for small household items, including small furniture, bedding, towels, etc. can be dropped off at 273 Gillaspey (Old Henning Electric Building) in CB south in front of the large garage door.

> Please contact Stephanie Dietrich on Facebook for more information on where to bring donations and to volunteer to bring items to the victims in need.