ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — Katie Bender could see smoke rising north of her Arvada home on Dec. 30, 2021. At first, she didn’t know that fire would become the most destructive in Colorado history.

Bender, an Adams County firefighter, got a call from her supervisor telling her to be ready. She didn’t hesitate and was soon on her way to help the countless other agencies on the scene in Superior and Lousiville.

“I work with so many firefighters with a lot of experience and none of us have ever seen anything like that. You hope you never will again but you never know,” Bender said.

Bender and her colleagues shared their account of that night through the Adams County Fire Department’s podcast this week. Bender said it’s an opportunity to provide answers to some of the lingering questions.

“Why couldn’t the fire stop? Why weren’t they able to put it out with the first one? I think explaining the wind and just the embers in our face and how insane everything really was,” Bender said.

She feels it’s also a chance to keep a dialogue going about the lessons learned from the Marshall Fire.

“The fire departments that responded thought they had a handle on it, everyone did. I think all departments could be trained a little better in wildland and how it can turn into worst case scenario,” Bender said.