BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Two people have been reported missing and are feared dead after the wind-driven Marshall Fire tore through Superior, Louisville, and parts of unincorporated Boulder County Thursday, destroying an updated total of 991 structures.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle confirmed the latest details on the missing people and structure loss during a press conference Saturday afternoon. Pelle also said several tips led to a search warrant in connection with the investigation into the cause of the fire, but he declined to give additional details into that investigation.
The two missing people, whose identities were not released, were inside homes that were destroyed in the fire, Pelle said. The sheriff said he expects the missing individuals to be the only casualties of the fire. The sheriff initially said three people were missing. However, a person previously listed as missing was accounted for on Sunday. Cadaver dogs will be at the two homes Sunday to help with recovery efforts.
"The structures where these folks would be are completely destroyed and covered with about eight inches of snow right now," Pelle said. "So our ability to attempt to search and recover from those structures is very much impeded right now, but we hope that within the next couple days, we can help families and perhaps recover remains."
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Officials have located hundreds of people who initially were reported missing. One person was reported missing Friday but they have since been located, Pelle said.
Pelle also released what he believes are the final, or close to the final, numbers in the total amount of structures lost. He said 553 homes were destroyed and 45 homes damaged in the town of Louisville; 332 homes were destroyed and 60 homes damaged in the town of Superior; and 106 homes destroyed and 22 homes were damaged in unincorporated Boulder County, making a total of 991 structures lost and 106 homes damaged in the fire.
Officials had previously estimated that at least 500 homes were destroyed.
A preliminary list of structures lost can be found here. The sheriff’s office said they are continuing to assess the damage, but winter weather is impacting that work. The total 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 self-report a damaged or destroyed structure that is not included on the preliminary list, visit boco.org/MarshallFireSelfReport.
The Marshall Fire started around S. Cherryvale Road and Marshall Drive at around 11 a.m. Thursday. Thousands of residents were evacuated as gusts of up to 105 mph whipped fire and smoke toward homes in businesses in the area Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters continued working overnight to attack the blaze which grew to 6,000 acres in size by Friday morning. An overnight dumping of snow and frigid temperatures left the fire smoldering in spots on Saturday.
Some residents were allowed to return home Saturday, but access is only available to residents who can show proof of residency. Areas under a “soft closure” are the only areas open for reentry, officials said.
Areas in the Louisville area moving to a soft closure status are:
- Spyglass Circle
- Saint Andrews Lane north of West Dillon Road
- Augusta Drive
- Pinehurst Court
- Club Circle and Place
Areas in the Superior area moving to a soft closure status are:
- South Pitkin Avenue
- East Gill Way
- East Heartstrong Street
- South Elbert Court
- Vernon Lane
- Campo Way
- Masters Court
- Eldorado Circle
- Edison Place
- South Indiana Street from Rock Creek Parkway to Eldorado Circle/Drive Intersection
City of Louisville areas still under a hard closure:
- McCaslin Blvd from South Boulder Road to Cherrywood Lane
- Via Appia at West Pine to McCaslin Blvd, no Northbound turns onto West
- PineHillside Lane and Hillside Court
- Fillmore Court
- West Sandbar Circle
- West Pinyon Way
- West Hemlock Circle
- Saint Andrews Lane south of West Dillon Road to South 88th Street
- South 88th Street at West Dillon Road to Saint Andrews Lane
- Troon Court
- Muirfield Court and Circle
- Turnberry Circle
- West Alder Street
- Kennedy Avenue at West Tamarisk Street South
- Harper Lake Drive and Court
- Washington Avenue from Grove Drive to McCaslin Boulevard
- Willow Place
- Honeysuckle Lane
- Sunflower Street
- Arapahoe Circle
- Eldorado Lane
- Larkspur Lane and Court
- Arapahoe Court
- Trail Ridge Drive
- Estes Way
- Harper Lake Drive
- Grove Court
- Meadow Court
- Owl Drive at West Pine Street west to Polk Avenue
Evacuees can visit this site and enter their address into a search box to see the closure status of their area.
The aforementioned investigation into the cause of the blaze continues. Sheriff Pelle said reports of downed power lines near the source of the fire were more than likely telephone wires and isn't what sparked the fire.
"We did find evidence of telecom lines down in that area, which could have caused reports of down lines, but which would not have caused a fire," Pelle said.
Resources for those impacted by the fire
FEMA announced on Saturday that disaster assistance has been made available to victims of Thursday’s fire. Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362.
While the state and federal government work to find some options, some companies are stepping up to help those displaced better navigate their next steps. Brian Sanchez, owner and founder of Denver Apartment Finders and founder of the nonprofit Faith in Denver, is helping those impacted by the fire find affordable housing.
Other resources for emergency food and other assistance are available through the Community Foundation for Boulder County, the Jewish Community Center, Mental Health Partners, Sister Carmen, EFAA and the OUR Center.