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Marshall Fire: Small Business Loan Program Helping Pave New Roads For Victims

SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4) – Hundreds of families and dozens of businesses are taking advantage of a federally-backed loan program which may help victims of the Marshall Fire bounce back from the historic blaze quicker than once thought. Thanks to low interest loans from the Small Business Administration many victims of the fire are already preparing for a return to the burn scar.

With interest rates currently between 2.83% and 5.66% many business owners in the Marshall Fire area now qualify for federal assistance. Depending on qualifications some could receive tens of thousands of dollars toward rebuilding or other financial implications caused by the fire.

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For the Fearless Motion Dance Center in Superior getting such a loan could assure young children are still able to return to their passion for dance while the surrounding community heals from the fire. The business, owned by Callie and Brianna Frey, is located at the center of the historic burn scar.

"We were evacuated from our building when the fire hit. It was probably one of the most scary situations we have faced to date," Callie told CBS4's Dillon Thomas. "When we evacuated we thought our building was going to be gone."

Several businesses and homes surrounding the dance studio were destroyed by the fire. Others, like the Target and Costco, which they share a parking lot with, were damaged by the fire.

However, when the Frey's returned to check on their studio they found the building still fully intact with no fire damage. However, it was still clearly filled with smoke and other sediment that was in the air during the fire.

"There was a sense of relief, but immediately it kicked into 'oh gosh, how long are we going to be out of our building now?'" Callie said.

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Fortunately, for the dance studio, a deep clean can address nearly all of the issues caused by the fire. However, some materials inside the studio may need to be replaced due to toxins spread by the ash and smoke.

After nearly two years of barely surviving the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on small business, the Fearless Motion Dace Center relies on steady business to stay afloat. Some customers lost their homes. Because the studio was closed during the aftermath of the fire the owners have been unable to collect regular dues and more.

Because of the potential of financial strain on their business, Callie and Brianna visited the Disaster Assistance Center in Lafayette to explore opportunities for financial assistance. There they were able to meet with the SBA to apply for a low interest rate loan. The loan could help pay for replacing damaged items as well as deep cleaning the facility.

When CBS4 visited the dance studio, dozens of workers were inside scrubbing the building. Ceiling tiles were removed and cleaned one by one.

"We are cleaning our facility from top down, making sure every crack and crevice has smoke completely out of our space," Callie said.

The ability to hurry and clean their facility thoroughly could significantly help the company bounce back from the fire quickly.

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"We focus our efforts on helping those businesses who were affected by the Marshall Fire. They can come in and expedite the process of their application in person," said Rick Tillery, spokesperson for the SBA. "These are federally backed low interest loans. They are here to help you get back on your feet."

More than 57 businesses have already applied through the SBA for loans. Another 101 families have applied for loans for their homes and more than $17 million has already been handed out.

"It is nice knowing we are not alone going through this, and there are so many ways different ways of getting relief and assistance in a time of need," Callie said.

If you or someone you know is in need of financial assistance loans due to the fire you can visit the DAC in Lafayette during regular business hours seven days a week.

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