Craig family sifting through the ashes in wake of fire that destroyed home
Craig — Tabatha Slaight didn’t smell smoke Saturday evening when her son Kalib, 4, ran into the room to tell her their house was on fire.
Tabatha immediately got her two boys and herself out of the home. Fifteen minutes later flames consumed the roof.
By the time Craig Fire Rescue put out the blaze on Knoll Avenue a few hours later, a home was destroyed and a local family displaced.
Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Slaight said she thinks the fire started near the fireplace.
Her husband, Josh, was at work when the fire started at about 6:20 p.m. Tabatha was able to save the couple’s four dogs and two cars, but not much else.
“My son was holding our little Yorkie saying, ‘I saved him mom,’” Slaight said Tuesday. “I’m just thankful it started when it did. If it were a few hours later, my sons would have been in bed.”
The home hasn’t been deemed safe to re-enter. When it is, the Slaight family will salvage whatever it can.
Slaight said the fire burned rooms erratically, decimating whole rooms while skipping some entirely. One of her son’s rooms was completely burned while the other had only smoke damage, and the bathtub upstairs is now downstairs.
The Slaights are Craig natives, and they’ve been relying on the support and assistance of family, friends and the entire community. The family stayed with Tabatha’s mother the first night, and is now staying at a condo owned by a friend.
“People from all over have helped out and donated,” Tabatha Slaight said. “People have donated beds, toys, clothes. It’s like Christmas all over again for the boys.”
But the loss of a home weighs heavily on Kalib and Teven, 5, she said.
“They’re still shocked and afraid.”
The family had lived in the home, which they owned, for only one year and must now begin the process of filing a claim with the insurance company.
Tabatha said her husband is dealing with those details.
“I just keep bawling,” Slaight said. “I’m afraid if I get on the phone I’ll get angry or start crying.”
The road ahead is an unknown for the family. Slaight said working with insurance could take anywhere from six months to a year, and that’s just a guess.
Aside from physically rebuilding their home, the family will have to deal with the trauma and damage done to their peace of mind.
“I won’t have a fireplace again,” Slaight said. “There’s one in the condo right now and the kids are afraid of it.”
But regardless of how long it takes, the Slaights won’t have to go it alone.
“We’re very thankful for the community,” Slaight said. “Everything they’ve done and are still doing to help us.”
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Lower and Central Yampa River Basin, which include Craig, Hayde, Rangely, Dinosaur and Meeker, will be under a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service starting at 6 a.m. Thursday.