This week we join our community in grieving and trying to make sense of the devastation brought to so many of our family, friends and neighbors by the fast-moving Marshall Fire. Our prayers go out to all who have lost their homes, cherished belongings and the normalcy of their lives.
Here at RE/MAX of Boulder and our Louisville-based sister firm RE/MAX Elevate, we believe that home is where our stories begin. Many in our Boulder County community now need to rebuild their beloved home so that their stories can once again be filled with joy. Today we join in that effort by sharing newly released guidance on what to do and what not to do in the days that follow a fire.
Residents are strongly discouraged against disturbing fire ash and debris in the Marshall Fire area
In a recent media release, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) strongly cautioned that sorting through ash and debris poses a significant health risk and is highly dangerous, noting that toxic, cancer-causing substances pose a danger when homeowners attempt to recover their belongings.
The release states there “is erroneous and potentially dangerous information circulating” regarding the safety of disturbing ash and debris in an effort to recover cherished belongings.
Fire professionals recommend only salvaging items that can be removed without sifting through ashes. While recovering precious possessions, BCPH stresses that homeowners should recover belongings safely and not compromise safety or health.
“BCPH strongly recommends that residents do not attempt to remove debris or clean-up properties that have been damaged or destroyed and under no circumstance should residents disturb ash regardless of what personal protective equipment they may have,” the release states.
Boulder County is working closely with FEMA and the impacted municipalities to coordinate debris removal for homes that have been destroyed or damaged by the Marshall or Middle Fork fires.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided basic guidelines from professional conservators on how to stay safe and healthy during the recovery process. Among the recommendations are:
Contact your insurance company right away and ask them what to do first. There are companies that specialize in cleaning and restoring your personal items. Ask your insurance company for recommendations of companies you can trust. Make sure you know if you or your insurance company will pay for the cleaning. When you contact the company, be sure to ask for a cost estimate in writing. If you are not insured, try contacting community groups for aid and assistance.
We are so proud and humbled to be a part of this amazing community of people. Our deepest gratitude and respect goes to the firefighters, emergency responders, officers and all of the professionals and citizens who acted swiftly and courageously.
Thank you to all of the community leaders, individuals and organizations in our community who are helping in every way so that those impacted can recover and feel supported.
For the full list of U.S. Fire Administration and FEMA guidelines, visit:
For more information on how to safely clean up after a fire, visit:
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit boulderco.com.