Colorado authorities find partial human remains in search for missing people after Marshall Fire

Jan 5, 2022, 9:16 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:22 pm
Fire damage is seen near the suspected origins of Marshall wildfire, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Bould...
Fire damage is seen near the suspected origins of Marshall wildfire, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(CNN) — Boulder County, Colorado, investigators found partial human remains while looking for missing people following the devastating Marshall Fire, the sheriff’s office announced Wednesday.

“Investigators working in the 5900 block of Marshall Road, unincorporated Boulder County, have located partial human remains of an adult,” the news release said. “Investigators from both the Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office continue to actively work at this scene.”

The Boulder County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for identifying the remains and determining the cause of death, authorities office said.

Sheriff Joe Pelle said at a Sunday news conference that one of initially three missing people had been accounted for and two remained missing. The missing person who was found was from Superior, about 24 miles northwest of Denver.

“We are still missing a woman from the town of Superior and a man from out by Marshall. The search for those folks is still underway,” Pelle said Sunday.

A day earlier, the sheriff had said that each of the structures associated with the missing residents were “completely destroyed” and covered with snow.

In a statement to CNN earlier this week, the FBI said it was assisting state and local authorities in the search.

The Marshall Fire, which started and grew rapidly last Thursday, tore through the county with the help of historic winds, wiping out entire subdivisions and charring more than 6,000 acres. The blaze destroyed nearly 1,000 homes, authorities said this week.

An investigation into how the fire started remains ongoing, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday, adding in a news release that “weather has been a factor in the speed at which the investigations and recovery are able to be conducted.”

The sheriff said during the Sunday news conference that a search warrant was executed at a private property but did not give any details. He went on to say authorities were aware of a viral video depicting a shed that was set on fire in the area where the fire originated, adding that authorities did not “know that that shed or anything around it was the actual start of the fire or whether it was secondary.”

He also acknowledged they had talked to people about the blaze.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis said the state’s top priority now is to get residents in the area the financial, mental health and housing resources they need in order to rebuild their lives, while the county has taken the lead on debris cleanup.

President Joe Biden is expected to visit the affected area on Friday.

“We’ll look forward to conveying to the president the needs of the community both short, medium, and long-term around housing and around rebuilding,” the governor said during his news conference. “I think it will be valuable for him to see some of the impact firsthand.”

At least 553 homes were destroyed in Louisville, another 332 in Superior and about 106 homes were destroyed in unincorporated parts of the county, the sheriff previously estimated.

In addition to those, another 127 structures were damaged in those areas, he added.

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Colorado authorities find partial human remains in search for missing people after Marshall Fire