#MarshallFire Update

by Dave Michels

TalkingPointz World Headquarters is located within the #MarshallFire burn zone. The structure still stands, but it’s damaged. Unfortunately, many of my neighbors lost their entire homes.

The #MarshallFire started somewhere in Southwest Boulder sometime around eleven in the morning on December 30, 2021. Boulder was having an unusually windy day. By the end of the day, the fire had spread some 6,000 acres and destroyed 991 1084 homes. The numbers keep adjusting, but one report summarized the damages as follows: 

  • Louisville – 553 destroyed, 45 damaged
  • Superior – 332 destroyed, 60 damaged
  • Unincorporated Boulder County – 106 destroyed, 22 damaged

My home is one of the lucky 22. The house came out of it. The property took some significant hits, and the fire spread into the garage. No one was home. More Info.

This was the second time this month that the winds were +100 MPH. Something (under investigation) sparked a fire, and the winds and dry conditions caused the fire to spread like, well like “wildfire.” It’s very dry here because we have not had any meaningful snow or precipitation this winter.

We are grateful the home still stands, but #GoFigure. Nineteen homes on our street were destroyed. “Destroyed” is not a strong enough word. In many cases there’s simply nothing left. Especially now that snow has come (tada). What is there is eerie. A patio set or a chimney remains as the only clue that a house once stood there.

The fire was very exact in its path. It’s surreal how it targeted and avoided structures. On one lot a kid’s undamaged outdoor play set still stands, but its associated house is completely gone. On another, the car in front is completely destroyed, but the house remains. There are a few streets where every house was destroyed but one.

We know several people that have lost their homes. It’s … absolutely horrific and heartbreaking. My heart goes out to everyone that lost so much in this disaster. There are two portions of my neighborhood where almost every home is gone.

This was a highly populated area with fire-hydrants. 991 1084 homes aren’t supposed to burn-up in just a few hours. 

Yesterday we got utilities restored. Xcel Energy got the gas and power flowing again. They gave me a maddening call center experience, but I forgive them. I had no idea Xcel owned so many trucks. To restore power they had to replace a lot of neighborhood infrastructure including poles and transformers. Xcel stands in stark contrast to Comcast. I was unable to get thru their auto attendant and I haven’t seen a truck yet. A tale of two monopolies … for another time. Water service was also restored.

We are visiting the home, but still in a hotel until we get the all-clear to return. The fire in the attached garage raises concerns about fumes and other dangers.   

I did manage to publish the 2021 Annual Report and December Insider Report. Luckily, those were mostly written before the fire.

I’d like to thank everyone that reached out – it means a lot. Here’s some responses to frequent questions.

What Started the Fire? Unknown at this time. There were initial reports that it was downed power lines, but Xcel insists that wasn’t the case. FBI and ATF are investigating the cause.

Are the Pets Ok? Yes. We were heading out of town for NYE, so dog was already at a friend’s home, and cat was secured inside the home. The chicken coop survived the fire too, but they require power to keep their water from freezing. There’s mixed opinions how well they can survive on snow, but Boulder Animal rescued/relocated our chickens. The beautiful young girl in this photo is Pepper.

Did the Phone Booth Survive? Yes. Undamaged.

Damages at Our Home? The house (and its contents) are a bit smokey. The attached garage has some serious damage, possibly including the car parked in it. There is significant landscaping damage, probably 80% of the plants are gone – even the ones right up to the house. We lost one large tree and a fence. The most significant damage appears to be the destruction of a major retaining wall.

UPDATE: The home requires some serious cleaning, and we’ve been asked to stay out for another week. They installed some major air scrubbers and an ozone machine today. The entire garage will need to be rebuilt.

Do We Need A Place to Stay? No. We are currently staying in a local hotel and hope to move back soon.

Did the Van Survive? Likely. It was parked outside. Many of the plants around it are gone, but the van appears undamaged.

Interactive map of the damages.