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ALLARD SEEKS FEDS’ AID IN HABITAT FIRES – SENATOR HELPED BUILD ONE OF THREE TORCHED HOUSES

ALLARD SEEKS FEDS’ AID IN HABITAT FIRES – SENATOR HELPED BUILD ONE OF THREE TORCHED HOUSES

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 6A
U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., has asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to be available to investigators looking into the suspected arson of three homes in Greeley last week, one of which he and his staff helped build.

Allard sent a letter to the director of the ATF on Tuesday, asking the agency to assist local investigators if they request federal aid.

“I think that if we’ve got an arsonist in this community . . . we need to put out all the resources we can put out to get this individual,” Allard said by phone from Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, “because this arsonist has got this community all in an uproar.”

He said the ATF has capabilities local law enforcement may not have in investigating the fires.

Two of the homes torched last week were being built by Habitat for Humanity. Allard and his staff worked on the home of Tomas Landin and his family on the afternoon of April 16. Landin’s home was set ablaze last Tuesday.

“They were a really nice family and really excited to move into their new home,” Allard said.

“It’s a sad day in America when we have people who are not doing well . . . and then they get penalized by some thoughtless person who decides to burn down their home.”

Another Habitat house was torched Saturday morning, and a house being renovated by the Greeley Urban Renewal Authority was partially burned last Wednesday.

Dale Lyman of Union Colony Fire/Rescue in Greeley said investigators had nothing new to report Tuesday.

Tom Chagolla, executive director of Greeley Area Habitat for Humanity, said Allard’s support is important to the investigation and rebuilding process.

“I think Sen. Allard plays a very instrumental part, given the fact that he has put labor, sweat and love into the Landin home,” Chagolla said. “We are blessed that Sen. Allard is a caring person, and he’s demonstrating that supportable housing is critical.”

Chagolla said workers removed the foundation of the Landin home Tuesday and should begin rebuilding the home by Aug. 1. He also said rebuilding on the other Habitat home should begin within the next week.

“We’re making progress every day,” Chagolla said.

Allard serves on the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation, which oversees housing projects, and said he supports Habitat because it helps people in need become homeowners.

“When people live in their own homes, their children do better in school, the family itself tends to be stronger, and they tend to be better citizens within the community,” he said. “And they get to share part of the American dream, which is owning your own home.”

Allard said he admires the Landin family for helping to build their own home.

“It means they are a family committed to succeeding in this country,” he said. “I’m very disappointed that one or two people in the community have (temporarily) destroyed their dream.”

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