Missing 2 pieces; survivors count blessings after the Colorado fire


They evacuated with the dog, iPad and clothes on their backs. Rex Hickman said he was heartbroken to see their 23-year-old home empty.

“There was a re-occurrence of numbness first. You know, like you go into crisis mode. You think about what you can do, what you can’t do,” he said. “Real pain fades with time.”

The couple had to find a rental home and clothes in the short term, and their insurance company told them it would take at least two years to rebuild their home.

“We know how lucky we are,” says Rex Hickman. “We have each other. We have great friends, a wonderful family. So many people have suffered more than us, and we feel for them. “

While foundation fires are still smoldering in some places, the blaze is no longer considered an immediate threat – especially with Saturday’s snow and frigid temperatures.

Authorities initially said everyone was cleared after the fire. But Boulder County spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said reports of three missing people were later discovered amid a scramble to manage the emergency. One person was found alive, officials said Sunday.

Crews are still looking for a woman at home in Superior and a man who lives near Marshall. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said their home was “deep in hot rubble and covered with snow. It is a difficult task.”

Other investigators are looking into whether the missing people may have been out, but not in contact with their family or friends, Pelle said.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis and federal emergency officials visited some of the damaged neighborhoods Sunday morning.

“I know this is a difficult time in your life if you lose everything or you don’t even know what you have lost,” Polis said after the tour. “A few days ago you celebrated Christmas at home and hung your stockings and now the house and fireplace have been demolished.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Utilities officials did not find any power lines cut around where the fire broke out.

Pelle said on Saturday authorities were pursuing some advice and had executed a search warrant at “a specific location”. The sheriff declined to provide details again on Sunday, including whether he thinks the fire has been lit.

“It was complicated and it was all covered with a layer of snow,” Pelle said of the scene where the fire started. “The outcome of that investigation is crucial – so much is at stake. We will be professional. We will be careful. ”

Of at least 991 buildings destroyed by the fire, most were residential. But the fire also destroyed eight properties at a Louisville shopping center, including a nail salon and a Subway restaurant. In neighboring Superior, 12 businesses were damaged, including a Target dealership, Chuck E. Cheese, Tesla, a hotel and city hall.

The two towns are about 20 miles (30 km) northwest of Denver with a combined population of 34,000.

The fire stopped about 100 yards (90 meters) from Susan Hill’s property in Louisville. She sleeps Saturday nights in her home using space heaters and hot water bottles to stay warm because her natural gas service hasn’t been turned back on.

She choked up as she remembered the color of the sky changing color and nervously recalled sprinting out of town with her college-age son and the dog, the cat and a fire box and the birth certificate and other documents.

“I don’t even know how to describe it,” she said. “So sad. It’s terrible. It’s just devastating.”

Utilities were expected to restore power to homes that were still operating on Sunday, but gas service was warned it could take longer to return.

People line up for heaters, bottled water and blankets at Red Cross shelters. Xcel Energy urges other residents to use fireplaces and wood stoves to stay warm and keep their pipes at home from freezing.

Upscale resident Jeff Markley went to his truck to get a heater. He says he feels lucky to have been “relocated” because his house is still intact.

“We are doing, being with friends and optimistic for the new year. Must be better than this last one,” Markley said.


This story has been updated to correct wording in Governor Polis’ quote.


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https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/2-missing-survivors-count-blessings-after-colorado-fire/6347539/?cat=500 Missing 2 pieces; survivors count blessings after the Colorado fire

Yasmin Harisha

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