Smoke damage prevents some families from moving back home after Marshall Fire

Local News

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — One major issue countless homeowners whose houses weren’t a total loss in the Marshall Fire are facing is smoke damage.

In some cases it’s so bad, those homes are uninhabitable. Restoration companies are now working continuously to try and get folks back home. 

We found one home left standing in a neighborhood in Unincorporated Boulder County. But like countless others belonging to thousands of homeowners, it has smoke damage. 

Melissa Sanders was present the day the Marshall Fire roared through the neighborhood.

“When you open the door it’s like getting hit in the face. Your first reaction is to go looking for another fire because (the smell of smoke is) so strong,” Sanders said.

Since the fire, Sanders’ family home has been uninhabitable. 

The Elements of Restoration Company is now working to decontaminate the home and others with damage in places you might not expect. 

“We’re finding soot around the window seals ’cause we had 100 mile an hour gusts and it was pushing in through the window seals. And out on the window ledges,” Elements of Restoration co-owner Casey Meeks said.

The company tells us if your home was in the smoke’s path, air filters should be checked and changed immediately. They tell us some of them may be black with soot from the Marshall Fire.

“It’s very hazardous. This wasn’t a normal wildfire. This was a residential home fire. They are burning TVs, cars and all kinds of plastics. All the kinds of stuff you don’t want to be breathing in,” Meeks said.

Elements said in some cases the smoke and its contaminants can be invisible. 

“You want to bring in that air quality company and see what the particulate count is in that area and in your home and see if it is something that is needed,” Elements of Restoration co-owner Lyn Cook said.

Air ducts also need to be cleaned or it can be intolerable if they aren’t.

“Even when you open the windows with the lingering smell from the grasslands below us, it continues to smell like it’s burning somewhere,” Sanders said.

Sanders mentioned she felt bad and sorry for those who lost their homes, especially when hers was still standing.

The restoration company will wipe down every surface in this home. Air scrubbers will clean the air and deodorize it and remove particulates as well. All these things are needed to make the home livable once again.

Elements told FOX31 people should get several estimates when trying to get their homes cleaned up and safe.

And it’s important, they say, for those companies to be local and to check them out as much as possible before hiring them to do the work.

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