LOUISVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — Off Vista Lane and Mulberry Street in Louisville, brick pillars and a pile of rubble are all that is left of David Pomeroy’s dream home. 

The family had just minutes to get out as the Marshall Fire tore through their neighborhood. 

“It’s ash and twisted metal,” Pomeroy said. “There’s basically nothing left.”

In the days after the fire, the Pomeroy family wasted little time deciding that they wanted to rebuild here. But three weeks after the fire, the property looks the same as it did the following day. 

“It’s been helpful to hear from survivors from other fires in other places about what to expect,” Pomeroy said, “and going into this with an expectation that it’s not going to be overnight.”

A question on the minds of hundreds of Boulder County families is: How long will this take?

“Everyone’s just in a holding pattern guessing and waiting, and trying to read the tea leaves about what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s hard to know until we know.”

Based on previous disasters, Boulder County officials estimate it could take three to four days to remove debris from each property. With more than 1,000 properties impacted, that would mean to complete the entire project, it would take more than eight years of debris removal if done one by one. 

However, county officials are optimistic that they will be able to expedite that timeline significantly by using multiple contractors in each of the nine burn zones.

“We are hoping, in an ideal world, that we’ll receive enough bids from contractors to match the number of zones that we have,” county official Darla Arians said. “In an ideal world, we’d have nine contractors signed up, and they’d each get about 122 homes.”

That would mean the debris removal process could be finished in roughly a year, with some families potentially beginning construction this year. 

“I think everyone, our neighbors included, wants things to move along as quickly as possible,” Pomeroy said. 

Pomeroy said, however, that it is important not to move too quickly. He understands how critical it is for the county, and for his family, to get things done the right way.

“There is an anxiousness to get moving, but maybe tempered with a caution about moving too fast and being hasty,” Pomeroy said. “I don’t think any of us want to make a big mistake, because the stakes are really high.”

Marshall Fire cleanup timeline

  • Jan. 21: The county begins removing trees, limbs, fences, etc. from public rights-of-way.
  • Jan. 29: Right-of-way cleanup wraps up. Curbside collection begins.
  • Feb. 1: Deadline for contractors to submit bids to the county. These will be reviewed, with recommendations made in roughly a week.
  • Late February: Potential start date for debris removal.