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Marshall Fire update: Bone fragments recovered in search for missing 91-year-old woman

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Two people are feared dead after the Marshall Fire in Boulder County. Nearly 1,000 homes were destoryed.
Burned home at 1st and Williams in Louisville covered in snow on Jan. 2.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — The search for Edna Nadine Turnbull's remains is continuing. The 91-year-old Superior resident is the only person still unaccounted for after the Dec. 30 Marshall Fire in Boulder County.

On Jan. 19, Boulder County officials said they recovered bone fragments at Turnbull's property. Officials said after being told to evacuate, Turnbull entered her home to try to save her dogs. Scientific testing is underway to determine if the bone fragments are human, but that process can take months.

"We remain committed to seeking answers and closure for the Turnbull family," officials said in a news release.

The latest numbers from damage assessments show the Marshall Fire destroyed 1,084 homes in Boulder County. And the total countywide actual value of residential damage is estimated to be $513,212,589.  

  • Louisville: 550 structures destroyed, 43 damaged; actual value of residential damage is approximately $229,199,184
  • Superior: 378 structures destroyed, 58 damaged; actual value of residential damage is approximately $152,757,462
  • Unincorporated Boulder County: 156 structures destroyed, 48 damaged; actual value of residential damage is approximately $131,255,944


In total, 1,084 homes were destroyed and 149 were damaged. Seven commercial buildings were destroyed and another 30 damaged. 

Boulder County, City of Louisville, and the Town of Superior have updated the list of impacted properties, which can be found here. You can also find properties that were in the burn area with this searchable map below. 

President Joe Biden will visit Boulder County on Friday, January 7 to tour the damage of the Marshall Fire with Governor Jared Polis and members of Colorado's congressional delegation to discuss the federal assistance that is needed for the victims.

“We cannot expect our communities to bear the burden of this disaster on their own. We must bring the full force of the federal government to bear as our communities work to rebuild and recover," said U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) in a news release. "I’m deeply grateful to President Biden and his Administration for authorizing a swift Disaster Declaration this past weekend to begin the flow of federal funds to our community, and I look forward to hosting him on the ground on Friday to share firsthand the powerful stories of Boulder County’s resilience and strength.”

On Wednesday January 5, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the Boulder County Coroner's Office, announced that partial human remains of one of the missing people had been found by investigators working in the 5900 block of Marshall Road in unincorporated Boulder County. Officials identified the remains as those of 69-year-old Robert Sharpe on Friday, January 7.

According to Boulder County officials, the investigation in the 1500 block of S. 76th Street in Superior remains ongoing. 

The Boulder County Coroner's Office will be responsible for identifying the remains found and determining the cause and manner of death.

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Photo: West Metro Fire

“The snow is an awesome thing for fire behavior, and it’s a hard thing for crime scenes and recovery efforts and damage assessments … So it’s a mixed blessing,” Pelle said in the Saturday news conference, which you can watch below.

Pelle added that it was “miraculous” that there are only a couple of missing persons, and not hundreds. 

People looking to help with recovery efforts are encouraged to donate money. Millions have been raised in the days since the fire. Pelle said the evacuation sites are overwhelmed with volunteers and do not need in-person help, and that monetary donations are the best way to contribute. 

We have compiled a list of fundraisers here.

On Saturday, volunteers were in the snow handing out heaters and water to a long line of people needing help.

Colorado Fires: Continued Community Support

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Pelle said it's clear it started in the area Highway 93 and Marshall Road, but there is no credible evidence that downed power lines ignited the fire. The sheriff said a search warrant was executed as part of the investigation, but declined to say where.

“If it turns out to be arson or reckless behavior with fire we will take appropriate action," Pelle said.

On January 5,  all hard and soft closures were lifted for the Town of Superior and unincorporated Boulder County, with the exception of South 76th Street which remains closed between Marshall Road and Sycamore Street. People returning to their homes may have to show proof of address with their driver’s license or other form of ID. More information is available here.

Below, you can search an address in the Marshall Fire's burn area. Note: not every home in the burn area was destroyed or damage. We have also included an updated map showing which neighborhoods are still under evacuation orders.

Marshall Fire Burn Area

Boulder County Evacuation Zones

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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