Nation & World

Cherished photos in stolen SUV returned to family who lost Colorado home in wildfire

A family’s SUV was returned to them on Jan. 13, 2022, after it was stolen from their hotel in Westminster, Colorado, police said. Their home was destroyed in the Marshall Fire in Louisville.
A family’s SUV was returned to them on Jan. 13, 2022, after it was stolen from their hotel in Westminster, Colorado, police said. Their home was destroyed in the Marshall Fire in Louisville. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

A family who lost their home in the destructive Colorado wildfire had their “irreplaceable” photos returned to them, along with their stolen SUV, the sheriff’s office said.

The family was staying at a hotel in Westminster on Jan. 4 after evacuating from the Marshall Fire when they realized their 2002 red GMC Denali had been stolen, the police department said in a news release.

The more than 6,000-acre wildfire destroyed over 1,000 homes across Louisville, Superior and unincorporated areas of Boulder County, KUSA reported. The blaze ignited on Dec. 30, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate.

Ryan and Nicole Fazio thought their SUV was gone for good along with the photos inside of it.

“The car was like the last comfort zone that I had,” Nicole Fazio told KDVR.

And photos of Ryan Fazio’s mother were in the car.

“We wouldn’t even care if they kept the car as long as they just drop the photos off somewhere because that is literally her entire life,” Nicole Fazio told KMGH-TV. “We had all the photos and could only fit two boxes and now they are gone.”

But the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office recovered the vehicle nine days after it was reported stolen. And the tubs of photos were still inside of the SUV.

“For us to actually be able to get them out [of the house] was great. To lose them was absolutely horrible. But to get them back again is like, it’s like hitting the lottery,” Ryan Fazio told KDVR.

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This story was originally published January 14, 2022 2:15 PM.

Helena Wegner is a McClatchy National Real-Time Reporter covering the state of Washington and the western region. She’s a journalism graduate from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s based in Phoenix.
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