Fire destroys Colusa recovery center

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A fire on Thursday destroyed the new home of the Safe Haven Wellness and Recovery Center, in Colusa. 

The Colusa Fire Department responded to the call about 5 AM to extinguish the blaze, but not before the flames totally gutted the inside of the historic building. 

Safe Haven moved from its Main Street facility to Oak Street during the summer and had just celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 26. 

“It’s a stumbling block but we are going to keep going,” said Walter Osbourn, Safe Haven president. 

While the group looks for a new facility, the peer-led support group will return to its original home in room 102 of the Colusa County Behavioral  Health office on Carson Street. 

Behavior Health started Safe Haven following the passage of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Act of 2014, to be a non-judgmental and safe place where people can socialize, share, and learn skills on how to handle mental health challenges. 

It grew from about five participants to 20 to 30 active members participating daily. 

Safe Haven also provides a safe place for people struggling with substance abuse, which often go hand-in-hand with mental illness, and those who found help there are distraught their drop-in center was a complete loss.  

“The loss is being felt by many people,” said Susan Wagenar, who was facing homelessness when she found Safe Haven. 

Wagenar said services the center and social services provide has helped her to become clean and sober, and transition into permanent housing. 

“Safe Haven helped me transition,” she said. “I call it my transitional life. Because of Safe Haven, I feel that I have a second chance at life.” 

While the cause of the fire is under investigation and Safe Haven looks for another permanent home, those needing services and support will still find it, Osbourn said. 

Were not giving up,” he said. “We will keep it going. The community has been very kind to us and are giving us their support.” ■