(Chabad.org) Rabbi Moshe Liberow spent the hours before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath Friday afternoon checking in on fellow evacuees as crews continued to battle one of the worst wildfires in Colorado history.
“Besides for giving water, snacks and words of encouragement to those that needed it, we also set up a cotton candy machine to bring smiles and a boost to the many children and adults,” reported Liberow, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Colorado Springs, who was assisted by Rabbi Zalman Popack in visiting makeshift shelters throughout the city.
Friday took on a somber note with the discovery of the first victim killed in the fast moving blaze, which on Tuesday, with the aid of 65 mile per hour winds, descended down a mountainside and into several neighborhoods.
More than 26,000 people were forced to flee the advancing flames, and by Sunday crews had discovered a second person killed.
President Barack Obama surveyed the damage Friday, as well.
On Sunday, news reports indicated that firefighters were seeing progress in their battle against the flames.
“We turned a corner on this today,” Rich Harvey, a spokesman for the incident management team, told The Denver Post.
The latest tally of the Waldo Canyon Fire credited it with consuming some 300 homes and 18,000 acres, with most of the residential damage in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood west of Centennial Road.
Liberow’s home and the Chabad center are both situated east of the road, and were spared the devastation.
“We’ve met with many Jewish families,” said the rabbi, who was able to return home Saturday night. “There are many needs in the Jewish community, and in the city at large, and we will continue to help in any ways that we can.”
Chabad-Lubavitch of Colorado Springs established an emergency fund to support relief efforts.