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St. Malo fire still not out, $1M damage estimate at historic center John Paul II visited (VIDEOS)

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Those of us lucky enough to have visited St. Malo Retreat Center know it's a gorgeous facility -- or at least it was, before a blaze broke out there on Monday. At this writing, Boulder County Sheriff's Office spokesman Rick Brough says the fire is still burning, although it's been contained -- and he expects that the investigation into a conflagration that's caused an estimated $1 million in damage will soon get underway in earnest.

Although every spark has yet to be extinguished, "they pretty much didn't fight it last night," Brough says. "There are only four fire protection districts up there, so they left people around to monitor instead. And today, they're going to continue with the fire suppression."

In addition, Brough continues, "I think they'll be able to start the investigation into the origin and cause." He shies away from speculating about most likely scenarios but notes that "they hadn't had power up there for a couple of days, and they were using the fireplace to heat the building. That'll probably be a starting point."

In the meantime, staff will no doubt be assessing the center itself, which made international news when Pope John Paul II visited there back in 1993, when World Youth Day took place in Denver. It's a piece of history well worth preserving.

Look below to see three videos about the fire, with the third, from the Boulder Daily Camera family of newspapers, featuring Brough on the scene.

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More from our News archive circa September 2010: "Boulder Fourmile Canyon fire update: 90,000 gallons of fire retardant to be dropped today."

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