BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — As flames destroyed their homes, FOX31 has learned two Boulder County first responders remained on duty helping to fight the Marshall Fire.
Scott MacLaughlin and Luke Hayas are both volunteers for the Boulder Emergency Squad, a volunteer technical search and rescue team serving Boulder County. MacLaughlin was at a movie with his son when the fire started and raced home to put on his bunker gear.
“When I left my house, the house across the street was already on fire,” MacLaughlin said.
MacLaughlin said he teamed up with Westminster fire crews who were on his block and eventually moved to the Rock Creek Subdivision, unsure if his home would survive.
He returned later that evening to find his block in shambles.
“When we went down the street pretty much every house was just ash. I mean, there wasn’t anything taller than a mailbox,” he said.
Luke Hayas works as an emergency manager for the Boulder County Health Department and helped out at the emergency operations center all night. He says he quickly knew his home near the Louisville Recreation Center was in trouble.
“It became clear that my house was threatened,” Hayas said. “You say yeah, OK, what’s happening is happening, but there are other people that need my help more now.”
Both firefighters are now left with essentially the clothes on their back, leading to a fundraiser started by the Boulder Emergency Squad.
Both say despite the long road ahead, the support has been overwhelming.
“Normally, I’m used to being the one helping people,” Hayas said. “So it’s a little bit of a shift in your mind to take a step back and accept the help. It’s hard to put words to it.”
“We’re usually in the mode of helping other people, so it’s kind of tough to be on the other end of it,” MacLaughlin said. “The offers of support have been unexpected and greatly overwhelming and appreciated.”