'Destroyed': How the tragedy sounded online



A section in the seven-page list of addresses provided to homeowners at a community meeting.
  • Jason Norris
  • A section in the seven-page list of addresses provided to homeowners at a community meeting.

Just like, for the folks tasked with it, it probably seems there's no great way to tell a family that the house they were in just days before has burned to the ground, it doesn't feel to me like there's any great way to write about it. I've personally battled with the feeling that each post, each story, each interview request regarding hardship experienced due to the Waldo Canyon Fire is vaguely exploitative; but then I also know, or hope, that there's varieties of good that result.

I feel this way again when trying to tell the story of what happened to the house owned by the family of my former coworker Darcie Nolan. Through she's since moved on to Portland, Ore., Nolan lived and worked in Colorado for years, founding Eye See Media, a proponent of socially conscious consumerism, along the way.

She's also a fine writer, so I'll shut up and let her finish the tale of what happened to 5458 Majestic Drive.

I tuned in to the Fire Department Scanner online from Oregon as fire teams gave account of their locations and the direction the wildfire had taken. At the same time my mom listened on from Colorado Springs, evacuated three days earlier as did my dad from his current work location in Baltimore, Maryland. Across the country we tuned in until the wee hours of the morning.

That night we heard teams attempt to make stands in our neighborhood and on our street. Intersections in our community that we had driven past, run past, walked past, were now the sites of firemen, firetrucks, brush trucks and barricades. We listened as they tried to save Majestic Drive, the street we had lived on just a year and half prior and currently rented. We listened as they proclaimed the street destroyed and had to move back. We listened as the fire moved northward into more neighborhoods and more familiar places.

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