SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4) — Hundreds of families in Boulder County have tragically lost their homes to the Marshall Fire. However, as a blanket of snow covered the region the day after the blaze, even those who were fortunate enough to have homes that were sparred were fearful of a new potential of destruction. Because gas lines were cut off as a result of the fire, many homes now do not have a source of heating right as temperatures as plummeting and are concerned about pipes freezing and bursting.
Many didn’t have time to prepare for a gas outage right as a winter storm arrived, let alone a devastating and historic fire that destroyed an wariness 600 to 1,000 homes.
“The world changed in two hours,” said Josh Shephard, a resident in Superior who was fortunate to not lose his home.
Shephard said he was at the gym when the fire started. He didn’t know there was an emergency until he walked outside.
“It was complete chaos everywhere,” Shephard said. “I came out and smoke was everywhere. Everyone was panicking. I didn’t know what was going on.”
The Marshall Fire erupted so quickly courtesy of dry conditions and hurricane force winds. It flamed up so quickly most did not receive a evacuation warning.
“I was washing dishes and looked out the kitchen window and there was a bunch of smoke,” said Mitch Burton, a home owner in Superior.
Many, like Elizabeth McKenzie, had only a matter of minutes to pack and leave. She was home with her three children when they were ordered to flee.
She said she gathered basic essentials, her kids and the family dog. The small car she was driving didn’t have enough room for their cats. She had to make the difficult decision to leave them behind. She chose to lock them in the basement so that smoke would be less likely to make its way to them if the house was sparred.
Watching the updates on the fire many weren’t sure if their homes would make it.
“We were terrified all night,” McKenzie said.
Many had to wait until Friday morning to find out if their home was saved or destroyed.
The fire picked which homes it was going to devastate and which would survive. In some neighborhoods individual homes made it while the others did not. In others there are burned homes surrounded by those left intact.
“Our little section? You wouldn’t even know there was fire at all?” Shephard said. “We walked up and checked on the house. Thank God it is still there.”
Those lucky enough to have homes to one day return to say they feel very fortunate. Some also noted that the weather was causing issues with the threat of burst pipes in the snow storm.
“We got power we just don’t have any gas,” Burton said.
Xcel Energy donated space heaters to those who needed them for their homes.
“We have some space heaters but obviously it is a hike to bring it up to our home,” Shephard said.
“It’s going to be a long process. There’s a lot of houses destroyed,” Burton said.