2 missing in Colorado fire; cause under investigation

LOUISVILLE (Colo.) -- Two people were missing in the charred remains of a Colorado wildfire. Search teams searched for them while residents escaped the flames sorted through what little was left.

03 January 2022 Monday 14:26
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2 missing in Colorado fire; cause under investigation

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the flames to rip through at least 9.4 miles (24 kilometers) of land, leaving almost 1,000 homes and other buildings in the suburbs between Denver & Boulder.

Last Thursday saw the inferno break out, which was unusually late in 2014 after a dry year and surrounded by very little snow. Experts believe that high winds and dry conditions contributed to the spread of the fire.

Joe Pelle, Boulder County Sheriff, stated that authorities are investigating a variety of tips and have executed a search warrant at one particular location. He also declined to give further details and did not comment on whether the fire was arson.

Pelle described the location where the fire started, saying that it was complicated and covered in snow. The outcome of this investigation is crucial because so much is at stake. We will be professional. We will be cautious."

Rex and Barba Hickman, along with their son and wife, sorted through the remains of their Louisville home.

Austin, their son, cut open a safe with a grinding instrument to reveal gold and silver coin, melted credit cards and keys, as well as the charred remains from the couple's passports.

Rex Hickman stated that they had evacuated with their dog and their iPads, and their clothes. He was devastated to find nothing of their 23-year-old home.

"You feel numb first. It's almost like when you enter crisis mode. He said, "You think about what you can and can't do." "Over time, the real pain will sink in."

They need to rent clothes and a property to live in, and their insurance company said Sunday that it would take them at least two years for their home to be rebuilt.

Rex Hickman stated, "We know how lucky we are." We have each other. We are blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. We feel sorry for so many people who are suffering more than us.

Although some homes were still burning to the foundations, it was not considered a threat immediately due to frigid temperatures on Saturday and snowstorms.

Initial reports stated that everyone was safe after the fire. However, Jennifer Churchill, Boulder County spokesperson, said that three missing people were reported to authorities during the rush to deal with the emergency. Officials confirmed that one of the people who were missing was still alive.

Crews were still searching for a woman who had a home in Superior and a Marshall man. Pelle stated that their homes were covered in snow and hot debris. It's a hard task.

Pelle stated that other investigators were also trying to find out if the missing persons might have made it, but they did not contact their family or friends.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, along with federal emergency officials, visited some of the affected neighborhoods Sunday morning.

Polis stated that after the tour, "I understand this is a difficult time in your life if everything has been lost or you don't know what it was." "A few days back, you were celebrating Christmas at your home and hanging up your stockings. Now home and hearth are destroyed."

The majority of the 991 buildings that were destroyed in the fire were houses. The fire also destroyed eight businesses in a Louisville shopping center, including a Subway restaurant and nail salon. Twelve businesses were also damaged in Superior, which is adjacent to the city. These included a Target and Chuck E. Cheese, Tesla dealerships, a hotel, and a town hall.

These two towns are located about 20 miles (30 km) northwest Denver and have a combined total population of 34,000.

About 100 yards (90 metres) away from Susan Hill's Louisville property, the flames had stopped. Because her natural gas service was not being turned back on, she slept in her home Saturday night. She used a space heater and hot bottles to keep warm.

She choked up when she thought back to the moment she saw the sky changing color. Then, she recalled running with her college-age son, dog, cat, and a firebox containing birth certificates and other documents.

She said, "I don’t know how to describe it." It's so tragic. It's just so terrible. It is just devastating."



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