Rick Tillery is the public information officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

But these days, Tillery has more of a connection to his latest assignment, the Dec. 30 Marshall Fire in Boulder County, than he probably wants. 

His sister’s home was very close to the fire. 

“Six of my friends lost their homes,” he said. The blaze destroyed more than 1,000 homes and damaged almost 150 more. Property damage is estimated at $513 million. 

The fire’s cause remains under investigation. 

The SBA and FEMA are accepting applications for residential and business loans. The deadline for FEMA’s applications is March 2; it’s March 1 for the Small Business Administration. 

“We’ve approved more than $69 million for homeowners and renters and $3 million for businesses and nonprofits,” Tillery said. “We can do mitigation work over and above the amount of the loan, 20 percent just for such things as fire-resistant roofing and up to $200,000 for uninsured losses to the structure and $40,000 for uninsured content losses and primary vehicles.” 

Interest rates for homeowners’ and renters’ loans are 1.438 percent, as of Feb. 9. The rate for businesses is 2.83 percent and 1.875 percent for nonprofits. 

The disaster recovery center is at 1755 S. Public Road in Lafayette. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tillery said those interested in applying should go to the center in person. 

“It’s an intricate process,” he said. “It’s not overly complicated. But there are a lot of details. It’s part of the process. Go in person. We have staff who will help walk you through it.” 

Tillery and Rossyveth Rey-Berrios, the public information officer for FEMA, said they will be in the area past the March deadlines “because we have to close loan applications.” 

“Traffic is slowing down,” Tillery said. “We still have people coming in, though. We’ve approved more than 400 loans. We have a special disbursement team in Dallas just for the Marshall fire to help people get the process moving.” 

Questions? Call Rey at 202-538-1325 or email Roosyveth.Rey@fema.dhs.gov. Contact Tillery at 571-752-0659 or email Richard.tillery@sba.gov.