LOUISVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — A family from Louisville is up in arms after a debris removal debacle during cleanup efforts after the Marshall Fire.
Lesley Draper says her family’s property in the Cornerstone subdivision wasn’t supposed to be cleared for several weeks, but something changed recently without her being notified.
“I thought it was a mistake. I thought some private company came in and did my lot by accident,” she said.
While Draper said she’s happy the cleanup is moving along, she’s upset about items with sentimental value that were removed.
“It pulled the scab off the wound. You know we feel like we are just beginning to heal, and it was more shock. More Loss. More grief that we didn’t need. We were prepared to see the lot cleared but to walk up and to think there are going to be a few things left of your life and you walk up and there are no things left your life. it was very sad,” Lesley’s sister Lisa Draper said.
The sentimental items include a wind sculpture and a birdbath.
“I got a call on the way over here saying, ‘We are going to be at your property.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know. I already said it was cleared yesterday,'” Lesley added.
The deadline was supposed to be next month for a walk-through.
“I feel like a huge shock, and I don’t want anybody else to go through that,” she told the Problem Solvers.
Leslie quickly began warning neighbors, including Heather Szucs.
“I’m out here today trying to salvage what I can,” Szucs said.
She’d previously spent countless hours saving what she could for her daughters.
“My jewelry is also gone so I have nothing to give to them. I have no photos. Nothing,” Szucs said.
Boulder County spokesperson Andrew Barth told the Problem Solvers, “Sorry to hear that this happened and I know that was never the team’s intention.”
“Another team was recently brought to work with program participants in advance of work commencing (debris Removal),” he said.
Back at Cornerstone, Szucs ended up finding some jewelry.
Leslie was glad she did, hoping others have a chance for one last search and sift before the little they had left is gone too.
Barth said everyone who is having their lot cleared should be able to have a walk-through before the work begins.
The Problem Solvers are being told homeowners could get as much as five days’ notice that debris removal will be taking place.
Here is the full Statement from Boulder County Public Works Spokesman Andrew Barth.
“We really do want everyone who’s participating to have a chance to be able to speak with a project team representative and to be able to walk their property with a site monitor and other debris team members so we’re all on the same page. To help make sure this happens, another team was recently brought on to create a “planning group” dedicated to working with program participants in advance of work commencing. This has allowed for more time, five days or more, for contact attempts and for conversations to be had between the debris removal team and property owners before crews start removing debris from the property. The planning group also is working on improving schedules now that DRC’s crews have had some time to get rolling and actually know with an improving level of accuracy how long it will take to clear a property and the runway where that property sits. They’re currently refining an online map that will help show where crews are working, where they’ll be headed next, and what sites are complete. We hope to be able to share that in the coming days. Program participants can reach out to us at any time using the email@example.com email if they’d like to know more about the anticipated schedule. “