Nikki and Ryan Fazio rushed headlong into their Colorado home to grab whatever heirlooms they could before the wildfire reached their property. Photo albums, special momentoes, toys, beloved family items. They filled several boxes up with everything they could until it was too dangerous.
They rushed outside and loaded it all into their 2002 GMC Denali where their two young kids, ages 5 and 7, waited. Then they sped off to safety. The fire was devastating, but they had each other and their most precious valuables.
The Fazio’s drove to a nearby hotel and settled in and started preparations to rebuild their lives. But while they were at a meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, someone stole their SUV, including all of these precious keepsakes they risked their lives to save.
“I was outside with the kids until 10:30 a.m., and it was still there, Nikki told The Daily Mail. “When we walked out at 12 to go meet with FEMA the car was gone. We’re trying to find some meaning in all this, and we’re very grateful for everyone helping so much.”
They only had about 20 minutes to grab everything they could that day. To make matters worse, Nikki Fazio broke her foot at Christmas.
“[My wife] ran around the house like a champ, and I packed everything into a couple of bags and got everything else ready,” Ryan Fazio told ABC 7. “And just within 20 minutes we got us, the kids, and the animals and got out of there.”
They made it out safely.
Fire Victims Start GoFundMe Campaign
‘We made it out with our animals, five bags of personal items, and whatever we could shove in the car. But everything else was lost during the fire, including two cars. The next-door neighbor was able to walk the couple miles back and said the entire house is in a huge pile in the basement,’ she added.
Whoever took the SUV also stole some cherished memories that can never be replaced, including photos of Ryan’s mom.
“His mom is one of the reasons why I am such — of why I am a good mom. And it just breaks my heart. I honestly don’t care about the car, even after losing everything, I just want to have some memories to give the kids,” she told NBC 9, tearing up.
The family toured their charred home recently.
“‘Everything that we have been building and collecting, we’ve been doing this for our family the last couple of years, and we had a nice house,” Ryan Fazio said. ‘And now when you go back to it it is literally just a pile of ash.”
To help rebuild, the family started a GoFundMe page. So far, they’ve raised $25,000 of their $40,000 goal.
In all, the Colorado wildfires destroyed 1,084 homes and caused more than $513 million. Experts say that figure will likely rise above $1 billion before clean-up efforts are completed.