She lost everything in Colorado wildfires. Now she's struggling to start over Taylor Korn, a lifelong Boulder, Colo., resident, had already lost her father and grandmother this past summer. Then a wildfire took her home and two dogs.

After losing everything in the Colorado wildfires, she's struggling to start over

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The wildfires that ripped through Boulder County, Colo., on Thursday left behind historic damage. Nearly a thousand homes were destroyed and maybe more. We turn now to someone reckoning with that damage. Taylor Korn is a native of Boulder County. The home she rented there burned Thursday, along with nearly all her belongings. She was at work when the fire started approaching.

TAYLOR KORN: I work about five, 10 minutes away from my house. Our power had been in and out all morning. The winds were just crazy. As I was leaving, I watched a huge piece of fence, like, blow off and roll across the street. But I went to work. A friend of mine who lives in downtown Boulder could see the smoke and sent me a video and was like, whoa, like, this looks really close to the Dark Horse, which is where I work.

PERALTA: Is this sort of thing normal where you live?

KORN: The wind is not. We haven't had any moisture in so many months. I mean, when I was little, we - Halloween was like - my parents hated when I wanted to buy a Halloween costume because when we went trick or treating, we had to wear our snow suits over them anyways.

PERALTA: (Laughter).

KORN: It would be snowing. It would be freezing. And, you know, we've made it to January, and we just had our, like, actual first snow.

PERALTA: Wow, so no snow.

KORN: We had, like, a slight dusting maybe a month and a half ago, but nothing stuck. And it's just dry.

PERALTA: So when did you realize that this was a danger to your house?

KORN: I had gotten a call - my concept of time is really off right now, but sometime around, like, noon, I think - my landlord had called me and said, get out of the house, and that was the first thing she said. And I was like, what? She was like, there's a fire. You've got to get out of the house. My first thought was just that I had just got two puppies. And I had just had them with me and taken them out. And then I put them in their crates before I left for work. My roommate was going to be home at 3 to let them out. And my first thought was to just go and get them as soon as she said that. So I just left work immediately, and I drove the highway. She had told me it was already closed.

PERALTA: So you could never make it back to your house.

KORN: Well, yeah, there's one road I pulled up to to turn on to and it was just - I could see the whole field just on fire. I couldn't get anywhere close enough to get out of my car, to walk, to get there.

PERALTA: Have you been able to go back home? Were you able to recover anything?

KORN: I have not been able to go home. When I found out I couldn't get into my house, I had called, like, the nonemergency police line to report my address and to report that my dogs were in there. They sent photos of our house, and it's just all gone.


KORN: Like, even looking at it at first, I couldn't tell, like, what angle or what side of the house they took the picture from until I found my bed - I could see my bed frame. Like, I have a picture where I know that that is my bed frame, and I know that that was our cement wall in the backyard. And I can see that, but it's just still impossible to even believe that that was my house that I loved. And, you know, I don't really have a lot of family. I don't have a lot of - my parents both died. And anything I had that was part of them was in that house.

PERALTA: Wow. Are you staying with friends or family or anybody?

KORN: Yeah, I'm staying with a friend of mine and her boyfriend - have an extra room. And they're people I've known for a very, very long time, so it's the second-best to feel like home.

PERALTA: But do you know what's next for you?

KORN: It's so much to process. I have such an overwhelming, incredible community of support in this town. My landlord I used to work for, as well - is how I knew her - and her house was in the same area. She lost her house, too. And she is still calling me every day to say, you know, she's trying to find a place - she's like, I have a room for you if you ever need it. We're going to find you a place to live. It's just - I was so scared for the first day that I would never be able to rebuild an entire life. It seems insane.


KORN: But I have enough people that have comforted me and are going to help me because I have absolutely no idea what comes next.

PERALTA: Taylor, thank you again for sharing your story. And we're all sending strength your way.

KORN: Thank you so much.

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