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'We’re a family up here': Grand Lake businesses working together to reopen after being evacuated

Business owners are finding smoke damage and food gone bad, but still feel lucky to be able to get back to work.

GRAND LAKE, Colo. — On Tuesday morning, the smell of smoke was stronger than coffee beans at Jumpstart Coffee and Tea in Grand Lake, and although the owner was working, she couldn't sell any food or coffee. 

“Yeah this is all the stuff we get to throw out," said Leona Goettel pointing to towers of pies and cheesecakes taken from the freezer. 

On her first day back in Grand Lake after the East Troublesome Fire forced evacuations last week, Goettel learned she wouldn't be able to open as quickly as she hoped. 

“I can’t open up today," she said. "I have nothing that I can serve safely, it’s all damaged. It’s all smoke-filled." 

RELATED: Snow on East Troublesome Fire isn't season-ending, but rather 'season-slowing,' firefighters say

In addition to smoke, everything from the freezer has to go because power was turned off during firefighting operations and food thawed. 

But Goettel isn't alone. 

The owner of the Grand View Mountain Lodge down the street is worried she'll have to replace mattresses because of smoke damage. But instead of working at her lodge, Fawn Calvin-Braley was in the back of the coffee shop doing dishes. 

"People helping people, we’re a family up here," said Calvin-Braley. "So help her get open and then she’ll come down and help me get open, and then we’ll help anybody in between.”

RELATED: 'This is heroic': Man finds note after fire crews save his home from East Troublesome Fire

Calvin-Braley and Goettel still have their homes, and they know so many of the people they call family are not as fortunate. 

The Grand County Sheriff said they have identified around 100 homes destroyed, and a law enforcement source told 9NEWS on Sunday they estimate 300-400 homes in Grand County are gone. The 192,560-acre blaze is 20% contained as of Sunday night. 

“You feel their pain because we were all waiting for updates and all feared the worst," said Goettel. "Some of us got relief and others, devastation. And it hurts." 

Goettel feels guilty she can work and didn't lose her home, but the people who still have something left to give are needed now. 

Even though she wasn't serving coffee, people still came in for a hug. 

RELATED: Snow on East Troublesome Fire isn't season-ending, but rather 'season-slowing,' firefighters say

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