Headlines — January 03, 2022

Headlines Jan. 3, 2022

Listen:

[Download Audio]

Two Still Missing From Disaster As Investigators Search For Cause Of Marshall Fire

Rescue teams in Superior will continue searching for a Superior woman and a Marshall-area man who are missing after the Marshall Fire raged through parts of Boulder County, Thursday. The fire destroyed both of the missing persons’ homes. Teams in Superior are scouring the area with the help of dogs trained to sniff out the smell of human remains.

Dave Hayes, Chief of the Louisville Police Department, said they had also been using cadaver dogs out of an abundance of caution, although nobody was reported missing.

The Marshall Fire which burned 6,200 acres, destroyed more than 900 structures in a matter of hours, Thursday. It damaged another 200 homes and businesses.

As of Sunday, fire crews continued to attack hot spots as some properties still smoldered with fire crews attacking hot spots and containment at around 75%. Boulder County said in a release that there are areas of significant heat around some impacted structures, and could have the potential to flare up.

At a news conference yesterday, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle would not say whether the fire was caused by humans. However, investigators have focused on a possible point of origin in a neighborhood near the intersection of Colorado Highway 93 and Marshall Road.

Sheriff Pelle said that a passer-by videoed a burning shed near the intersection on Thursday morning; however, he added they don’t know if that shed started the fire or was secondary. The Denver Post reports that members of the Christian religious sect, The Twelve Tribes, occupied the shed.

CBS4 reports that a search warrant was executed at that property on Saturday, however officials did not confirm the location of the search.

“Soft Closure” Allows Entry To Some Areas For Residents

As of last evening, at 6 PM some residents were being allowed access to their properties in what Boulder County is calling a “soft closure” which means that an area is open to residents only, and we will need identification showing proof of address to gain entry.

The county said in a release that as of last night the following areas were now a “soft closure”: Creekside, Circle Park, and The Ridge, in an area from Rock Creek Parkway and McCaslin Boulevard south to Coalton Road and east where Coalton Road and Rock Creek Parkway cross. Also included is the area of South 68th to Davidson Ditch.

However, there have been no changes to the evacuation status in Louisville.

Biden Declares Area a Disaster Assistance Funds Available

On Saturday morning, President Joe Biden approved a declaration that the Marshall Fire scene was a major disaster. The declaration means that Boulder County residents are eligible for money from the Federal Emergency Management Authority or FEMA.

In a release, FEMA said assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin the process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Xcel Working to Return Gas Service by Tuesday Night

Natural gas service is planned to be restored to all victims of the Marshall Fire by tomorrow night, according to Xcel Energy. As of yesterday morning service had been restored to 1,200 customers. The company is also working to reestablish electricity.

A spokesperson said that, to get gas service running, it’s a home-by-home and business-by-business process. People in need of electric heaters can pick them up at the Red Cross shelter at the YMCA in Lafayette.

CU Boulder To Start Remotely

The University of Colorado Boulder will begin spring semester remotely for the first two weeks. Classes are to start a week from today. Officials said that the decision comes in response to the Marshall Fire and also the new surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.

Chancellor Phil DiStefano said in a letter to the campus that the university is unable to welcome students back and that starting remotely will allow them to provide support to impacted students, faculty and staff, and will also allow them to provide resources to support recovery efforts in the community. The university will attempt to assist students affected by the fire with food and housing assistance. Dorms will remain closed until in-person classes start in late January.

Boulder Valley Schools to Start Wednesday

The Boulder Valley School District announced yesterday that classes at all schools will resume as planned on Wednesday when winter break ends. The announcement includes areas impacted by the Marshall Fire.

District officials said in an update that schools can serve a very important role to support students and their families following this large tragedy.

According to the district, none of the school in Superior or Louisville was physically damaged, and crews are scrubbing buildings where there was smoke. Xcel Energy also has restored electricity to all the buildings, while natural gas is expected to be restored by Tuesday. The district plans to bring in bottled water while a boil water notice is in effect.

Denver Mayor Tests Positive for COVID-19

In other news, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Twitter and Facebook Saturday that he tested positive for COVID. Hancock who said he has mild symptoms and is quarantining and credits vaccines and the booster for making a difference in his case.

Flights Delayed at DIA

Yesterday at Denver International Airport, 325 flights were cancelled and more than 500 delayed as airlines said staff shortages from COVID-19 infections affect crews. The Associated Press reports that on Saturday, the number of grounded flights was the highest since just before Christmas when the airlines began blaming staff shortages for cancellations and delays.