A brother and sister examined the remains of their home and their community in Louisville, Colorado, on January 1, after hundreds of homes in Boulder County were destroyed by the Marshall Fire.
“I unfortunately I lost everything and my car in this Marshal brush fire,” wrote 17-year-old Jay Groves on Instagram. “My heart and prayers go out to all the other families who lost their house and possessions,” he added.
Jay said he and his sister, 19-year-old Ellie Groves, had returned to inspect the remains of their father’s home on New Year’s Day after snow had extinguished the fire.
In footage taken at the house, Jay points to an exposed area, coated in snow, that used to be their basement. “The beams and everything are just gone down. Everything’s just…collapsed,” he says in the video.
Jay and Ellie’s mother, Carey Groves, set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help her children recover.
“Both Ellie and Jay were in Arizona and were traveling home when the fire hit,” Carey wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Ellie had stored all of her sentimental items at her Dad’s house when she went to college, so while many of her day-to-day items were not destroyed, she lost so many sentimental items and keepsakes,” she wrote.
“Jay suffered far greater damages,” wrote Carey, who described how a Mazda for which Jay had saved for years to buy when he turned 16, and which he called Marco, had been totally destroyed by the blaze.
“We recently learned that Jay’s car will not be covered by insurance and so he will have entirely lost his passion project for the last several years,” she added.
At least 991 structures were destroyed by the fire, including 553 in Louisville, the Boulder County Sheriff said.
Governor Jared Polis visited the affected area with FEMA chief Deanne Criswell on Sunday, January 2, and told reporters the FBI was helping investigate the cause of the fire, Colorado Public Radio reported.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said on Sunday that one of the three people unaccounted for had been found alive, according to The Denver Channel. Credit: Jay Groves via Storyful