Loading
Colorado Catholic retreat center seriously damaged in fire
A photo taken around 9 a.m., Nov. 14th, of the fire at the St. Malo Retreat Center near Allenspark, Colo. Photo courtesy of                 Bill Demmon
A photo taken around 9 a.m., Nov. 14th, of the fire at the St. Malo Retreat Center near Allenspark, Colo. Photo courtesy of Bill Demmon
By Benjamin Mann
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Camp Saint Malo, a historic Catholic retreat center in the Archdiocese of Denver, Colo., has suffered serious damage in a Nov. 14 fire that is being blamed on gas buildup in a chimney.

“This is a very, very tragic loss, because many emblematic elements of the Church in Colorado were here at St. Malo, and most of them have been lost to the fire,” said Jose Ambrozic, director of the Saint Malo Catholic Retreat, Conference, and Spiritual Center,

“Nevertheless,” Ambrozic told CNA Nov. 14, “the Church is much more than its buildings, so we will be back whenever God wants, serving as we have been doing in the Catholic community of Colorado and beyond.”

Ambrozic, four of his fellow consecrated members in the Christian Life Movement, and one aspirant to the community, saw the flames as they returned to their residence after Mass on Monday morning.

The blaze, which reportedly started around 7:45 a.m., caused no injuries or deaths, however the movement's brothers living at St. Malo lost all their belongings.

Three members of the maintenance and kitchen staff also escaped safely from the site, which was otherwise empty. Guests at the retreat house had been sent home on Sunday because of a power outage caused by high wind gusts.

By 11 a.m. on Monday, firefighters reported that they had contained the fire that began with an explosion on the roof of the retreat center's main building. But its lounge, dining room, kitchen, library, and common areas had burned and collapsed, along with a small chapel on the building's third floor.

The fire did not affect the Church of St. Catherine of Siena, a well-known Colorado landmark on the property. But firefighters say the retreat center may be totally lost because of the structural damage, even though three floors of the lodging area remain standing.

While they have not officially confirmed a cause, Estes Park and Allenspark firefighters believe the fire started when flammable gasses built up inside a long chimney and ignited. The determination of the official cause will be made known once an investigation is completed.

As they battled the fire, firefighters encountered difficulties due to continued high winds and, according to some reports, ran out of water.

Built as a camp for young people during the 1930s, Camp St. Malo was renovated into a conference center during the 1980s. Blessed John Paul II stayed in room 314 of the retreat house during his 1993 visit to Denver for World Youth Day.

That room remains intact following the containment of the fire. Many photographs and other mementos of the Pope's visit, however, have been lost.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
20

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14