BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – As the one-year anniversary of the Marshall Fire nears, officials with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office are providing an update in their investigation on the origin of the fire.
On Dec. 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire ignited, destroying 1,084 homes and racking up damages in excess of $2 billion. Since then, BCSO has been conducting an investigation into the fire’s cause and now the agency has released a large cache of body camera footage taken east of Cherryvale Road.
The videos show the chaos of the evacuations and rescues: deputies picking up people from their homes to meet loved ones, animals on the side of the road and deputies pleading with those who didn’t want to leave their homes.
One video shows a deputy go into five Superior stores to clear them out, telling the patrons the fire is on the way.
It also shows the traffic backup from those trying to get out and deputies forming a plan to get people to safety. Deputies go door to door in neighborhoods, marking doors with caution tape as “safe” to show the occupants were evacuated.
Hundreds of items of evidence collected in Marshall Fire
BCSO employees who were among the first to respond to the fire captured 266 body camera recordings and from those recordings, 450 pictures were captured. BCSO has also collected 186 items of evidence, including 49 physical items, and 137 additional pieces of digital evidence, like drone footage collected by witnesses and investigators.
BCSO, along with help from the district attorney’s office, has been processing the large amount of video footage and photos in addition to following up on over 200 tips submitted regarding the fire’s origins. Officials said that the tips do not include first responders who were interviewed.
Of the total items gathered, BCSO has released 60 body camera recordings for the public to watch. BCSO warns on its website that the videos may contain strong language. It should be noted that since BCSO announced the footage release, some of the videos are labeled “no longer available.”
According to BCSO, each item, video or photo has been reviewed multiple times during the investigation.
Fire investigation requirements
For every investigation regarding a fire, the following potential causes must be considered:
- Equipment use such as mechanical failure of a vehicle or equipment usage without a spark arrestor
- Smoking or cigarettes discarded
- Debris burn
- Possibility of children playing with matches
- Possible coal mine fires underground
- Electrical infrastructure
- Welding, grinding, and target shooting
Footage west of Cherryvale Road will not be released until the cause and origin of the fire are announced. BCSO is preparing to complete the investigation most likely in early 2023, along with releasing the final cause and origin of the Marshall Fire.
FOX31’s Gabby Easterwood contributed to this report.