ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – It’s been one week since a fire tore through a gun range in Englewood. Firefighters have deemed the building a total loss.
It’s been an emotional week for the Peterson family, who owned the business, but they are grateful for the kind words and community support as they look to pick up the pieces.
“Just sadness,” James Peterson said.
Peterson’s grandfather built The Shootist Gun Range brick-by-brick in 1999. The walls that once held 20 years of positive memories now contain a heap of charred rubble.
“To just come and see it all gone. It’s heartbreaking. It’s really, really hard to see,” Peterson said.
Peterson and his wife, Nichole, were sleeping the morning of Oct. 31 when flames erupted in the attic of their building. A phone call from their security company and fire department alerted them of the devastation.
“It burned so hot in the showroom, there’s really nothing left,” Peterson said.
The Petersons' three children have grown up in and around the shop, often asking to tag along with their parents.
“'Can I come in today? Can I sit behind the counter?' Our oldest was very, very into it,” Peterson said.
The Denver Fire Department has finished its investigation. The Englewood Police Department has not yet released its results.
Peterson does not suspect anything criminal.
“It looks like it started in the attic the way everything burned and that’s where our mechanical was so, you assume it’s something up there, but I don’t know,” Peterson said.
Until a cause is determined and the insurance company also completes its investigation, Peterson says everything is on hold. But they are determined to open their doors once again.
“It’s a very, very lost feeling right now of what’s next. I definitely want to rebuild, come back stronger and let the community be a part of it,” Peterson said. “We’re so thankful to our friends and family that have reached out in such an overwhelming amazing way to help us get back on our feet and do what we love to do again.”
The Petersons say due to the age of the building and fire codes at the time it was built, there was not a sprinkler system inside. They are also using this time to try to help out their employees who also suddenly lost their jobs and income.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family.