Fire victim shares struggles after losing Boulder home in Sunshine Wildland Fire

Lopa van der Mersch lost her home and all of her belongings during the fire on Dec. 19
Fire victim
Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 21:05:39-05

BOULDER, Colo. — It's been a week since the Sunshine Wildland Fire broke out in Boulder, destroying one home and damaging another.

Lopa van der Mersch lived in one of the homes that was lost to the fire on Dec. 19, losing all of her belongings just days before Christmas. She said she first noticed the fire as it burned her deck. It then spread to her home.

She, her 7-year-old son and his nanny were forced to evacuate the flames with no time to grab anything.

"It was beyond water, it was beyond fire extinguisher. You could see the flames coming out of the roof. The smoke started coming in and we were like, 'We gotta get out,'" van der Mersch said.

She said she had always wanted to live in the Sunshine Canyon area and was thrilled when that home became available three and a half months ago. It was an exciting purchase.

"More than anything, it wasn’t about the stuff. This was my home, my sense of place," she said. "I had shreds of hope that it wouldn’t consume everything."

Van der Mersch said the time of tragedy has brought out the kindness from so many in the community.

Fire victim

"The outpouring of support has been outstanding — not just friends and family, but people I don’t know," she said. "Boulder has been impacted by fire in so many ways. I think there’s a huge outpouring."

She's still not sure what her next steps will be, adding that she is taking things slowly but is looking at the bright side.

"Hold your loved ones close. I’m really glad we’re OK and that’s the most important thing. When bad things happen, we don’t have control over it and so the best we can do is make the best of it. I’m doing everything I can to focus on the kindness love coming towards me," she said.

Van der Mersch said her home was insured but her two friends, James and Lisa, who were remodeling a cabin to move into on the property also lost everything. They've launched a GoFundMe page to help them replace their items.

She also said if the community would like to support her during this challenging time, they can do so by supporting her business, RASA, which is a coffee alternative.

"I started it during a stressful time in my life. RASA was made for these times. My morning cup is very nourishing right now," she said.

Denver7 reached out to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office to see if they've determined an official fire cause. We are still waiting to hear back.