"Lake George - A Call To Action " by Susan Lamphear

Hayman fire in the summer of 2002 started far away from the Conifer/Bailey area. We all listened with interest to what was going on but not terribly concerned, after all, the fire wasn’t threatening us!

Then day two of the fire – it moved 21 miles in one night. Fires usually “lie” down at night and slow their advance, but Hayman didn’t. It was fast approaching us from the south – burning up Hwy 126 and trying to move northeast by Long Scraggy, threatening very populated areas of Conifer, Buffalo Creek and Pine.

We sprung into action….started searching for fire maps, keeping our scanners on day and night. We reported to the folks on a local chat room the progress of the fire.

I woke up day three with a serious gut feeling that perhaps some of our volunteer fire departments were in trouble. After sharing that with others, various folks in our network of volunteers started contacting the individual Fire Departments and I called Lake George myself. At first, chief “Dutch” thought that they didn’t need much help – they were busy fighting the fire that was advancing upon the town. They were fine, they had food and all…I said, tell me, it there ANYTHING that you need? Finally, he mentioned that their starter was out in their water tanker. They were shut down and couldn’t dump water on the fire. Hmmmm, maybe we could help! Oh, and BTW he said that they sure could use a refrigerator. They had a lot of supplies and no way to keep perishables cool.

So, we went into action! The word went out in our mountain community. A person from Broomfield donated a refrigerator (nicer than the one in my own house, BTW!!!!) and drove it all the way from Broomfield to Lake George that very night. Stopping in Conifer, on the way to Lake George, he picked up some supplies that had been donated by our community (leather gloves, nuskin for burns, Band-Aids and snacks) and another volunteer to help and headed out.

At the same time, a mechanic that owns his own shop in town and lives in the Conifer area heard the call for help. He dropped everything and went to Lake George. When he arrived he found a shot starter on a very obsolete piece of fire equipment. Oh my, what now?!?! He called his auto parts supplier in Denver and no, sorry, we don’t stock that sort of thing, but let’s see what we can do….. the search was on for the part.

In the mean time, the fire was advancing on Lake George. The folks in town dug up their town park to create a firebreak – hopefully to save the town. The water tanker was sitting in the garage unable to start. Sadness and a sense of helplessness filled the air. The smoke of the fire surrounded the entire town and flames could be seen popping through the smoke. It was an eerie site – almost like a dark thunderstorm hovering and advancing at the same time. Lightening bolts could be seen striking the ground. Fires create their own weather, and what an awesome site this was!

A call came in – the part has been located in Kansas! So, Jim headed to Denver, as a runner from Kansas brought the part to The NAPA. Everyone knew the seriousness of the situation and fell into motion. The part arrived just shortly after Jim arrived. Jim grabbed the part and headed back..

As he arrived in Lake George it was getting late in the afternoon. The town was dark with smoke, almost impossible to see more than a half-mile even though the weather was clear. He went to work on the old water tanker – loosing bolts, working like a mad man……as soon as the last bolt was tightened on the tanker, the firemen started the engine and rolled! Tears of joy were flowing and the tanker was able to do its job. In less than 8 hours from the time we found out there was a problem it was solved!

As the tanker rolled, the refrigerator and supplies arrived. They unloaded it and the Red Cross had just arrived with supplies. So, as we had found many, many times during the fire “Dutch” graciously suggested that the Florrisant fire and rescue dept was down the road and that they are always in need. Maybe we could take the extra supplies there and share with them. Even though they were not in Dutch’s county, they needed help. So, off our volunteers went to Florrisant with the EXTRA refrigerator (2 were donated) and the extra supplies.  Once again, the gratitude of the volunteers at the station was overwhelming. They were working on a shoestring with fire advancing from all directions. All of the items were desperately needed.

At the end of a long and tiring day, a sense of pride existed in all that participated. During these times of crisis we all feel so helpless. Doing a small act of kindness is what it is all about! Helping those that help us, what greater gift can you bring to the table?