Community coming together to help family after house fire

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By Deborah Swearingen

A Sunday morning fire gutted a South Jeffco home, but within hours the community rallied together to help.

Marie and Keith Hughes woke around 3:30 a.m. to a loud noise in the backyard of their house in the 5900 block of South Quail Way in Littleton.

“As soon as I opened my eyes, I saw our bedroom window completely covered in flames just on the other side of the glass,” Marie wrote on the Word of Mouth Littleton Facebook page.

Marie, Keith and their two sons — one of whom was not home at the time — made it out injury-free, but the family lost their two pet pugs.

Before Marie posted to spread the word, members of this Facebook group and others saw the flames and quickly began working to identify the family and find ways to help.

The Hughes family attends Waterstone Community Church in Littleton. The church set up a fund for the family, and a family friend also set up a GoFundMe account.

Brad and Robin Heykoop, owners of Atlas Coffees in South Jeffco, decided to accept donations for the family at their coffee shop, as well. Brad also works as a pastor with Waterstone.

“They’re friends of ours,” he said. “They’ve been regular customers of ours since we opened.”

The Heykoops opened Atlas Coffees to provide quality coffee, but they also want their coffee shop to serve as a community asset.

“We just wanted to have a focus on our community,” Brad said. “This is just a way we can live out our vision by helping a family that has an immediate need.

“People do rally. They want to take care of each other,” he added, noting his pride in South Jeffco for uniting to help the family. “ … When crisis hits, it awakens us to the needs of those around us.”

What happened

West Metro Fire Rescue received a call about the fire around 3:40 a.m. Investigators couldn’t go into the home on the night of the fire because it was too dangerous, but West Metro ultimately determined the fire started on the back deck of the home. After ruling out the grill and smoker as ignition sources, the fire department is calling the official cause “undetermined.”

“Because of the extensive damage to the structure, it is difficult to say with 100 percent certainty what started the fire,” West Metro said on its Twitter page.

According to Ronda Scholting, spokeswoman with West Metro, the case has been turned over to the homeowners and the restoration companies, but she said it’s unlikely any of the home will be salvageable. The Hughes family predicts it will take at least a year to rebuild.

The fire caused minor damage to one neighboring home and moderate damage to another, according to West Metro. There was varying degrees of singeing on the outside of both, but neither had any internal damage.