3 missing, 991 structures lost in the Marshall fire; tips lead to search warrant
BOULDER COUNTY, Colorado – Three people have been reported missing and are believed to have died after a wind-driven wildfire raged through Superior, Louisville and parts of unincorporated Boulder County on Thursday, destroying an updated total of 991 structures.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle confirmed the latest details on the missing persons and the loss of structure at a press conference on Saturday afternoon. Pelle also said several clues led to a search warrant as part of the investigation into the cause of the fire, but declined to give further details on that investigation.
The three missing, whose identity has not been released, were inside houses destroyed by the fire, Pelle said. The sheriff said he expects the missing people – two people in Superior and one in the Marshall area – to be the only victims of the blaze. Corpse dogs will be at all three homes on Sunday to help with recovery efforts.
âThe structures where these people are said to be are completely destroyed and covered with about eight inches of snow right now,â Pelle said. “Our ability to attempt to search and recover from these structures is therefore severely hampered at this time, but hopefully in the next few days we can help the families and possibly recover the remains.”
Authorities have located hundreds of people who were initially missing. One person was reported missing on Friday, but has since been found, Pelle said.
Pelle has also released what he believes are final, or near-final, numbers for the total number of structures lost. He said 553 homes were destroyed and 45 homes damaged in the city of Louisville; 332 houses were destroyed and 60 houses damaged in the town of Superior; and 106 homes destroyed and 22 homes damaged in unincorporated Boulder County, making a total of 991 structures lost and 106 homes damaged in the fire.
Authorities previously estimated that at least 500 homes had been destroyed.
A preliminary list of lost structures can be found here. The sheriff’s office said it was continuing to assess the damage, but winter conditions are impacting that work. The full cost of the devastation is not yet known.
The City of Louisville is in the process of creating a map of destroyed or damaged homes. The map will be available here. To report a damaged or destroyed structure yourself that is not on the preliminary list, go to boco.org/MarshallFireSelfReport.
The Marshall Fire began around S. Cherryvale Road and Marshall Drive around 11 a.m. Thursday. Thousands of residents were evacuated as gusts of up to 105 mph lashed fire and smoke towards homes of businesses in the area on Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters continued to work through the night to attack the blaze which reached 6,000 acres on Friday morning. Overnight snowfall and freezing temperatures left the fire smoldering in places on Saturday.
Some residents were allowed to return home on Saturday, but access is only available to residents who can show proof of residency. The areas subject to “soft closure” are the only areas open to re-entry, officials said.
Areas of the Louisville area moving to a soft closing the statutes are:
- Bezel circle
- Saint Andrews Lane north of West Dillon Road
- Augusta promenade
- Pinehurst Court
- Club circle and location
Areas of the city of Louisville still under a hard closing:
- McCaslin Boulevard from South Boulder Road to Cherrywood Lane
- Via Appia in West Pine to McCaslin Boulevard, no north-west turns
- PineHillside Lane and Hillside Court
- Fillmore Court
- West Sandbank Circle
- Pinyon West Way
- Western Hemlock Circle
- Lane Saint Andrews south of West Dillon Road to south 88e Street
- South 88e West Dillon Road Street in Saint Andrews Lane
- Court of Troon
- Muirfield Court and Circle
- Circle of Turnberry
- Aulne Street West
- Kennedy Avenue to West Tamaris Street South
- Harper Lake Drive and Court
- Washington Avenue from Grove Drive to McCaslin Boulevard
- Willow Square
- Honeysuckle Alley
- Tournesol Street
- Arapahoe Circle
- Eldorado Way
- Larkspur Lane and Court
- Arapahoe Court
- Trail ridge road
- Chemin d’Estes
- Harper Lake Boardwalk
- Grove courtyard
- Prairie Court
- Owl Drive at West Pine Street west to Polk Avenue
The aforementioned investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing. Sheriff Pelle said reports of power lines falling near the source of the blaze were more than likely telephone wires and that was not what started the blaze.
“We found evidence of downed telecommunications lines in this area, which could have caused reports of downed lines, but which would not have caused a fire,” Pelle said.
Resources for those affected by the fire
FEMA announced on Saturday that disaster assistance had been made available to victims of Thursday’s blaze. Residents and business owners who have experienced losses in designated areas can begin seeking assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
As the state and federal government scramble to find options, some companies are stepping up to help displaced people better navigate their next steps. Brian Sanchez, owner and founder of Denver Apartment Finders and founder of the Faith Association in Denver, helps those affected by the fire find affordable housing.
MORE | How to help those affected by the Marshall fire
Other resources for emergency food and other aid are available through the Boulder County Community Foundation, Jewish Community Center, Mental Health Partners, Sister Carmen, EFAA, and the OUR Center.
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