91-year-old woman remains missing over 2 weeks after massive Colorado wildfire – National

Near the starting point of a wildfire in Colorado that destroyed more than 1,000 homes and buildings, a man stayed home in an apparent attempt to salvage a massive stack of papers documenting his family’s history as well as his personal writings and records of community activism.

Robert Sharp, 69, was seen last month trying to fight the fire and at least one warning had been waved to him to evacuate his home in a semi-rural area near Boulder, according to his brother Milt Sharp. His remains were found inside his home a week after a December 30 fire broke out in the area.

The search was still Friday for the only other person still listed missing in the fire – at a site where a house burned out on the outskirts of Superior Town, downwind from the point of fire and across open fields and hiking trails on a suburban edge.

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“We are still actively working to find and identify the remains of the second missing person,” Boulder County Police spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield said.

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Authorities did not name the woman, but her relatives identified her as 91-year-old Nadine Turnbull while they declined to comment to the Associated Press.

Family friend Amy Smith said she lived with her adult granddaughter on a plot of land that traces back to the rural area, with two dogs, a goat and two horses. Smith organized an online fundraiser for Turnbull’s granddaughter, Lily Cornell, who survived the fire and is struggling to start over.

Neighbor Scotty Roberts told KCNC-TV last week that he barely escaped his family home in the fire and went to Turnbull’s house to ask her out, asking the deputy mayor to come with him.


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However, as soon as he opened the front door of the house and let the air in, the fire broke out and intensified, he said. Cornell ran away, but Turnbull had her dogs on, and wrapped the leashes around a table, the station said.

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“I couldn’t pull them all out with the table with me at the same time,” said Roberts, who described the fire as being “everywhere” at that point.

Roberts, shivering during the interview, said he was sorry and ran away.

Haverfield, a spokesman for the Boulder County sheriff, declined to answer questions about whether any first responders had gone home and whether anyone had attempted to evacuate Turnbull, citing an ongoing investigation.

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Robert Sharp’s home is two miles (3.2 kilometers) from Turnbull’s home, and Milt Sharp said an official told him his brother was fighting a fire in his home and was warned to leave. Milt Sharp said another official said he had asked a man who refused to leave and believed it was Robert Sharpe.

Melt Sharp said Robert Sharpe was not a hothead and loved his life, so much so that it was hard to keep up with all of his interests and views, from championing children’s rights to salsa dancing.

Milt Sharp said his older brother was willing to take some casualties in a fire to salvage what was important to him, including documents and papers stored in dozens of filing cabinets.

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Milt Sharp added that he believed his brother would have escaped if he had realized that “a wall of fire that does not escape” was on his way.

Robert Sharp worked in construction for many years and was helpful in helping fix things and also providing clear opinions on just about anything, calling the community radio station and attending town meetings, his brother said.


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Throughout his 30 years at KGNU radio, former station director and news director Sam Fuqua told The Denver Post that he remembers Sharp’s call to talk about environmental issues, politics, and local development.

“It’s the kind of caller you want to call for your shows,” he said. “Someone who listens and considers points that no one else in the conversation makes.”

Melt Sharp is also grieving the loss of another brother who died while being held in a hospital room with COVID-19 two weeks before the fire. He said he was ashamed that he might have been cruel to Robert Sharpe’s efforts to help him understand the way he sees the world.

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“It was huge, it was just a huge, big life he lived, and he did it with love and compassion,” Milt Sharp said.

Associated Press researchers Jennifer Farrar and Randy Hershaft contributed to this report.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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