“We just looked at each other in disbelief,” she said.
Robert Guokas, 83, was well-prepared for a power outage from his home in the Sans Souci mobile home park, which did not burn in the fires.
A former Boy Scout, he has been keeping his mobile home warm with a propane heater, using a camping stove to heat water and bundling inside sleeping bags and layers of clothing collected over the years from Army surplus stores. But by Saturday, he was starting to run low on propane and he worried that if the outage continued for much longer, his preparations would not be sufficient.
“That’s going to stretch my limit,” he said. He said that leaving for an emergency shelter would be even worse than staying home. By staying put, he could try to minimize the damage, for instance by replacing the pots he has set up to catch the water dripping through his roof after the harsh winds on Thursday tore part of it off.
“You leave it for three or four days or a week, and it becomes a derelict, it becomes unfixable,” Mr. Guokas said.
If the outage continues, he said, he worries most about his pipes bursting. The damage caused by a burst pipe could be so severe that it would be cheaper to find a new mobile home than to make repairs on his decades-old unit. But with his income of just $1,400 a month from Social Security, he has no idea how he would afford either.
As the scale of the destruction came into clearer view on Saturday, thousands of displaced families across the Boulder area began to confront questions about whether they would rebuild and how they would find temporary housing in a place confronting a stark shortage of homes and an affordability crisis that has already priced many young families out of Louisville and Superior.
Even as Ms. Bowdey’s husband, a property manager, fights off Covid-19 at a hotel, he has been inundated with 200 requests for housing from families who now have no place to go, she said. “It kind of hits you every so often that this is not just weeks and months — this is years.”