The historic Stanley Hotel of Estes Park, Colorado, opened its doors to hundreds of firefighters last week to offer them dinner and a place to stay.
The 110-year-old “spooky-looking” Stanley Hotel is famously known for being the inspiration behind Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.”
“The Fire Marshal Kevin Sullivan called me and said ‘hey can I have a couple of free rooms?’” said hotel owner John Cullen. “With every hour that number went up a hundred rooms and we have about 500 in house now and we’re going to feed about 800 tonight.”
During winter, the hotel normally operates on a skeleton staff, but with only nine employees, Cullen told the news outlet that the hotel is now at 100 percent capacity, adding that they are prepared to do whatever they can to help the first responders.
The hotel, built of wood, is the “largest collection of kindling” in Colorado, according to Cullen. “What safer place to be than to have 500 of the bravest souls on this Estes Park area staying in my own house?” he pondered.
On Thursday, the wildfires had spread across the continental divide, CBS reported, causing a spot fire on the eastern slope. This raised concerns that it might continue to spread further east to Estes Park. However, favorable weather conditions have so far prevented this from happening.
Cullen said that the hotel is preparing to serve up to 1,000 meals a day, with the community rallying to make sure the firefighters don’t go hungry. He added, “Every shop owner that still can is delivering everything from dairy products to meat products to whatever.”
He noted that even after providing food and accommodation, there was no way to truly express his appreciation for the firefighters and what they were doing on the front line.
“Three hundred fifty to 400 of the bravest souls in Estes Park came here to rescue us,“ Cullen said. ”It was really one of those great moments where the spirit of the Stanley shined on.”
For as long as they need it, Cullen added, he will continue to provide a place for the firefighters to stay.