Marine veteran salvages military items after fire destroys Denver home

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DENVER (KDVR) — A fire at an apartment complex near East Alameda Avenue and South Havana Street destroyed or damaged at least a dozen units Wednesday, forcing many people out of their homes. Among them is Marine veteran Shawn Nicely.

“It’s destroyed. I’ve lost everything. What I can fit in the truck her is what I have,” said Nicely.

Nicely and his cousin, Nathan Hollingsworth returned from work to find a plume of smoke coming from their building. Nicely’s three dogs, including his service animal, were inside at the time.

“I told the fire department, ‘I have three dogs up there. I need somebody to up and get them. It’s either you guys go in or I go in,’” said Nicely.

He credits Denver firefighters for saving all three dogs by carrying them out of a window.

Nicely served in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2010 and tried salvaging any military items left behind. He says even his experience in the military could not prepare him for this type of loss.

“I don’t think anything can ever really prepare you for something like this. All of this can be replaced, but our lives — they can’t,” said Nicely. 

The Denver Fire Department said Friday night the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A GoFundMe page is set up to support the cousins who are currently staying in a hotel. 

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