Former Craig man's store ruined in rampage


The Granby hardware store where Friday's bulldozer destruction came to an end was owned by two Moffat County natives who are trying to decide whether to rebuild or move on.
Casey and Rhonda Farrell, both Moffat County High School graduates, moved to Granby in 1978. They owned and operated Gambles of Granby, where Marvin Heemeyer's bulldozer finally stop after destroying a dozen buildings in the town.
The Farrells still have close ties to Craig. Casey Farrell said his dearest friend in the whole world lives in Craig. And Ralph Baird, Rhonda Farrell's father, also lives in Craig.
Authorities speculate Heemeyer's rampage was fueled by a zoning dispute with city officials.
"I was on the town board when that decision came down," Casey Farrell said. "He (Heemeyer) and I had done business for years."
After the zoning fray, Heemeyer didn't come around any more, Casey Farrell said.
The Farrells' daughter, Kimberlee Nanda, had come to Granby from Grand Junction for a long weekend in the mountain town. Casey Farrell and his wife, along with their daughter and her family, fled the town after the destruction began.
A family member of one of the Gambles employees witnessed the destruction of the library and warned the Farrells to leave, Nanda said.
"We just got out of Dodge," Casey Farrell said.
The family headed to the Silver Creek Hotel in SolVista, Nanda said. The family listened to a radio account of the attack, and then saw pictures of it on television.
When Heemeyer started crashing their building, Casey Farrell said he turned to his wife and said, "The basement's gonna get him."
"We had an old basement," Farrell said. "I don't think he (Heemeyer) remembered it was there."
The right side of the bulldozer started to sink into the basement. Heemeyer struggled to free the machine, but the tracks were just spinning, Nanda said.
Casey Farrell said there was a white puff of smoke when law enforcement disabled the bulldozer's radiator.
That's when the destruction came to an end.
"He would have kept going until the engine seized," Casey Farrell said.
Now, the Farrell's face a tough choice about whether to rebuild the store or quit business. Casey Farrell said he feels an obligation to rebuild and reopen when he thinks about the community and the support he's received since the attack.
However, it doesn't look like insurance will cover all the losses. And when Casey Farrell thinks about the long hours that come with business ownership and the daunting task of rebuilding, it gives him pause.
"It's not a decision that will be made in haste," Casey Farrell said. "We're trying to explore all the options."
The aftermath of the event brought camaraderie to the small town, Nanda said.
"Our phone began ringing nonstop with people offering their services," Nanda said.
Casey Farrell said he estimates 250 people have called to offer support, including equipment, labor, prayers and food.
"We're all pulling together," Casey Farrell said.

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