Amid historically strong winds, about 370 homes were destroyed in one subdivision west of Superior Town, while another 210 homes may have been lost in the Old Town, the Sheriff said Thursday. There were no immediate reports of deaths or missing persons.
“I called my wife, and she started collecting valuables and clothes to clear the place,” Smith said. He drove through smoke on his way there and on his way back.
Across the fire area, roads were blocked by smoke and traffic jams as people tried to get out.
At Chuck E. Cheese’s Restaurant Superior, families with young children can see smoke from wide windows and make their way toward the exit, a video taken by Jason Fletcher shows.
“Now,” said a woman. “decent.”
“I’m scared,” said a child while another woman leaned hard at the front door to open it against the gusts of wind.
At a Costco Superior store, shoppers were asked to quietly leave their carts and go, said Hunt Fry, who captured the video from a misty parking lot. Bailey said a shopping mall and hotel in Superior were also on fire Thursday.
From the intensive care room at Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, white smoke blanketed the coal sky across a parking lot and a street, video from Kara Blasey shows. Officials said the hospital has been completely evacuated and patients have either been transferred or left the hospital. Good Samaritan Medical Center in nearby Lafayette has also begun transporting some of its most critical and fragile patients, according to a press release.
Falling power lines could be the cause
Sheriff Joe Bailey, citing initial reports, said the downed power lines apparently caused the Marshall Fire. The deputies confirmed the fall of the lines in the fire area and a final decision will be taken in the coming days. Sheriff said at a news conference that the Middle Fork flame also erupted, and was quickly “quenched.”
Winds dropped below 20 mph early Friday, and the area is under a winter weather warning, with heavy snow expected as the sun rises in the drought-stricken state, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackleford said.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Thursday wind gusts – some exceeding 100 mph in Jefferson and Boulder counties – pushed the fire “down a football field in a matter of seconds.”
“There is no way to quantify the amount of the loss in any financial way—the loss of the chair you inherited from your grandmother, the loss of childhood yearbooks, the loss of your photos, the loss of computer files—that hundreds of families in Colorado have suffered today without warning,” he said.
Recovery plans are already underway
“It’s just something you don’t plan on,” she said. “It’s devastating.”
On Thursday, he said Sharif would not be surprised if the numbers of casualties or missing changed soon, given the size and severity of the fire.
“This area, for those who don’t know this area of Boulder County, is right and about suburbs and stores. It’s like the neighborhood you live in; it’s like the neighborhood any of us live in,” said the governor. Thursday.