Marshall’s neighbors set fire to Ground Zero curious, relieved and angry at possible religious sect guilt | Subscriber content
The zero point neighbors of Colorado’s most devastating wildfires exchanged tales of emergency, confusion, helplessness and anger as Old Marshall Road first opened to the public on Wednesday.
Bob Gabriella, whose family were the first to build on the historic rural street in 1865, said he saw a trickle of smoke rising from the Twelve Tribes property on December 30 at around 9 a.m. âThe wind was blowing quite hard. I was afraid. I told my wife to go get the suitcases, âhe told The Gazette as he examined the gray and ashy outline of what were once two vintage motorcycles. âThis one is a 1936 Harley that my dad rode,â he said.
He didn’t have time to save the vintage cycles because the barn everyone compares to a museum has turned into a horrific fireball. Three fire extinguishers hanging from a bucket on a charred tractor in the yard: two of them are red and one is burnt. âI used them all to try to save this barn. I sometimes hang things on it for people to see, âhe said. On Sundays, neighbors say, dozens of weekend cyclists use the Eclectic Road as a side route for their weekend trips, as they enjoyed looking at the old buildings. A white concrete structure that was once a brothel for miners was luckier than the barn.
A survey of neighbors to determine the damage on their block gave the same approximate time for when they noticed the fire on December 30. Some people smelled smoke before seeing him, around 9 a.m.
A woman named Brie, who asked not to give her last name, told The Gazette her sister was driving near the compound of Freeway 93 and Marshall Road around 9 a.m. and sent a text saying it looked like there was a bonfire on the Twelve Tribes. property. âShe couldn’t believe it because it was a red flag day,â Brie said.
About an hour later, people at the Sans Souci Trailer Park across Highway 93 saw smoke billowing from the lands of the Twelve Tribes. Ryan Davis, who says he keeps an eye on the area as a rule, decided to walk his dog towards the fire in the middle of the morning. He said a shed at the back of the five-acre complex was burning from the outside and at that time the roof was intact. âSomething caught fire in the hangar and it was on fire but no one seemed to notice. There was no one up there. No fire engines.
Mike Zoltkowski, who lives nearby and filmed the burning hangar as the winds picked up, said he saw the first fire trucks arrive to block the roads around 11:15 a.m. At 11:45 a.m., he saw the first fire trucks arriving to block the roads at around 11:15 a.m. saw the hangar engulfed in flames and saw three people gathered around a truck. One of the men had parted his shoulder and the other two were helping him to safety. He asked what was going on and he said that they told him that one of their buildings had caught fire, and that “everything was under control”, Zoltkowski recalls. âIt certainly didn’t feel under control to me. “
Yet another neighbor who only wanted to be identified as June due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, told The Gazette that there is an outbreak on the Twelve Tribes property that often burns down and sometimes spits out smoke. embers in the air that floated in his yard. âI called the sheriffs about this for a year and they kept telling me there was nothing they could do,â June said.
She said she was so furious about the “burns on and off in the hearth” that she once walked to the property to ask the people who live there to put out the fire. âThey told me they could do whatever they wanted on their land. When I told the sheriffs about it, they agreed. June said she often saw people in the compound burning something in the foyer. “They have a front loader and they scrape their shit or whatever they burn together and put it in that pit.” She said there had been nights when she could see the orange flames of the fireplace lighting up the darkness.
Was there anyone looking after the fire during these nightly sightings? She shrugged her shoulders. “I’m going to give the sheriff some time to sort this out and if he doesn’t, I told him I’m speaking to the media,” she said.
June said that at 4 p.m. on December 30, the front loader was furiously dumping dirt on the fire pit to try and put out the fire. She called the fire department who she said told her the fire truck was running out of water.
A log on the Mountain View Fire Department website shows the exact times and locations of the work one of its fire trucks was working on in the Marshall Road and Highway 93 area on the morning of the 30th. December.
âAt 11:39 am, Louisville Battalion 2760 arrived and took command from the Marshal, requesting additional resources from the town of Boulder. Command reported a fire in a hangar north of Park-n-Ride and asked the next unit to intervene there, âthe newspaper reported.
A red flag ban was in effect on December 30 for the region. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle has said in press conferences that the area of ââMarshall Road and Highway 93 is at the center of the investigation. Numerous requests to Boulder County sheriffs for records of the number of times MPs have been called to the property have been dismissed by authorities, citing it is an ongoing investigation.
The National Weather Service reports winds were gusting 81 miles per hour in South Boulder and up to 99 miles per hour on Highways 93 and 72, which are within a mile of owned by the Twelve Tribes. At noon this spot had a maximum gust of 115 miles per hour. These strong winds moved easterly across Superior and most of Louisville between 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Boulder site.
On Old Marshall Road, Jeff Giddings watched firefighters across the street spray water on the first victim of the 2021 Marshall fire. âWe don’t have any hoses here. We are on a well. The trucks were running out of water, âGiddings said. The flames were so red her face hurt. At 4.30 p.m., the firefighters had to give up.
âThat’s when we realized we might not get there,â Giddings said. “We took our computers and some papers and got out of there, but thought our house would be gone when we got back.” His house, which was once a gas station, has been spared.
He remembers that after the fire was out and the houses were smoldering, his neighbors came to borrow a shovel. âI thought they wanted to put out the embers. But they needed help burying their dog. Giddings showed a journalist a charred limb sticking out of the black earth. Behind, there was a statue of a cherub. âHe was a little black muttâ¦ kind of a lab I think,â Giddings said, passing molten metal doors and patio furniture.
On Tuesday afternoon, an American Family Insurance real estate expert was interviewing residents, an Excel truck was working on gas meters, and crews on ladders were assessing power lines. Dozens of law enforcement vehicles parked on the perimeter of Twelve Tribe property, including the Boulder Police Department Bomb Squad van, several K-9 fire trucks, and vehicles from the Boulder Police Department. Boulder County Sheriff. Investigators blocked an adjacent dirt road and new fences protected the structures that dot the interior, most of which were still standing. A group of law enforcement vehicles surrounded the hangar at the west end of the property, which was shown in videos taken by residents and which went viral.
Bob Gabriella’s son lost his home on Old Marshall Road and did not pay his insurance. He cries at odd times when a moment strikes him, such as when he realizes that the stucco house his family built on Old Marshall Road is still standing. Up front is the restored Studebaker he rescued.
“Do you see this car? My wife and I dated.
He said the car his father took his mother in on their first date was in the garage. He was able to pull these treasures out of the fire as he raged around him on the afternoon of December 30.
Bob Gabriella knows the neighbors are talking about the Twelve Tribes home; but he has a different point of view.
âThey were great neighbors,â he said, explaining that they saved one of his rental homes from a swarm of invading bees. “They took the bees and the beehive and brought me a candle,” he said, adding that the children in the compound “were walking up and down the street.”
He pointed to a bench on his now crumbling property where they like to sit.
As the sun set and snow fell on Wednesday night, investigators were gone, but the sheriff’s vehicles were still parked at the corners of the empty Twelve Tribes property.