Picking up the pieces
Koldens lose home in Sunday fire
By STU MERRY
It was bitterly cold January Sunday. It was a nice day to be inside and to prepare for a belated family Christmas party.
But for Darren and Denise Kolden, Sunday was anything but joyful.
The day started out like any normal Sunday. As Denise worked at Ye Olde Malt Shoppe, Darren went to church. Losing their home and much of their belongings in a fire was the furthest thing from their mind.
Getting off work at 2 p.m., Denise returned home to put the final touches on the family Christmas party that would begin after the restaurant closed.
The meat and cheese tray was ready. The chips and dip were out. The table was set. Darren had cleaned the kitchen.
The Kolden home was ready for a party. Everything was as it should be. It was time to relax before the fun began.
Darren busied himself in the shop as the afternoon waned. Denise kicked back. She started the fireplace in the living room like she always does.
Everything was perfect. Too perfect. That perfection soon turned to chaos.
Denise called her mom, Judy Solem, just to visit. It was about a quarter after 4. The family Christmas party would begin soon. But something didn’t seem right.
The living room seemed smoky. Could it be the fireplace? Denise said it seemed as though the backdraft from the fireplace was coming into the house.
"I said, ‘gosh, it’s getting smoky in here, it must be windy for the damper to have that backdraft’."