Expecting Superior couple loses both home and business in Marshall Fire

Local News

SUPERIOR, Colo. (KDVR) — A Superior family not only lost their home in the Marshall Fire, but their business too. 

Wayne and Samantha Shelnutt owned a home in Superior’s Sagamore neighborhood, which was leveled last Thursday. “We just ran out with the only things that mattered, which was our lives,” Wayne Shelnutt said. 

They lost everything except for a laptop, one vehicle and two coats. “We’re literally still buying toothpaste and socks,” explained Shelnutt. They are one of the roughly 1,000 families dealing with a total loss. 

“It’s a little bit harder for us losing our house and our home because we actually just both lost our jobs,” Wayne Shelnutt said. 

The couple owns a barbecue restaurant called Wayne’s Smoke Shack. It is located in a building next door to the Target that nearly burned down and about a quarter of a mile from the 370 homes lost in their neighborhood. 

The restaurant is still standing but according to the Shelnutts, the inside is ruined.

“Literally everything in there is covered in toxic smoke and soot,” said Shelnutt. “It might be a total loss on every piece of equipment that I have.”

The Shelnutts started the business in 2013 and it became a success story due to a word-of-mouth customer base. During the pandemic, he even stepped in to help feed frontline workers. 

“We were able to partner up with tons of people in the community and did a whole hospital outreach program where we were able to serve tons of frontline workers, healthcare workers, bring them a meal, hopefully brighten their day a little bit,” Samantha Shelnutt said. 

The couple says they wish they could help feed the Marshall Fire victims, but they are in need of help themselves.

“As of this point, I’m homeless. I have nothing to my name. And I’ve never felt more blessed in my life. I truly feel that way,” Wayne Shelnutt said. 

He says family, friends and strangers have stepped in to help in a way he did not realize was possible. They have been given complimentary hotel rooms, meals, clothing and gift cards. 

Wayne and Samantha are also expecting a baby in March.

“The mom community has been amazing. They’ve already supplied me with a whole wardrobe of maternity clothes,” Samantha Shelnutt said. “I have people who are collecting baby gifts and clothes and someone donated a crib and a changing table.”

It’s that generosity that is giving them the strength to move forward and rebuild, they said.

“I’ve always been the guy that will give the shirt off my back so I’ve never expected it in my life, but it feels pretty good to have people give the shirt off their back when I don’t have any shirts,” Wayne Shelnutt said. 

According to Wayne Shelnutt, the restaurant will not be able to reopen for six months to a year. However, they do plan to reopen. 

The couple has secured a house to rent in Arvada. 

They started a GoFund Me to help with additional expenses while they rebuild both their personal and professional lives. 

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