Colorado: Hundreds of homes have been lost to rapidly spreading fires


Hundreds of homes have been lost to rapidly spreading fires

Thousands of people were told to evacuate immediately, and hundreds of buildings were already lost after spreading wildfires in Boulder County, Colorado.

Several small grass fires, sparked by falling power lines in gale-force winds in central Colorado, grew into raging fires Thursday afternoon.

Two wildfires burning were first reported after 11 a.m. Thursday and have since "swelled" to nearly 1,600 acres, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Bailey told reporters during a news briefing.

"We were concerned about the firing rate," Bailey said. "This was taking up swathes of a football pitch in seconds."

The city of Louisville, Colorado, of about 20,000 residents, has been asked to evacuate due to the Marshall Fire. The town of Superior, Colorado, which has about 13,000 people, has also been asked to evacuate due to this fire.

And according to the city, part of Westminster, Colorado, is also subject to a mandatory evacuation order.

The Denver/Boulder National Weather Service called the situation in Louisville life-threatening, urging people to leave immediately.

Centura Health's Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville has begun evacuating its patients, starting with the most severe cases, a Centura Health spokesperson told ABC News Thursday afternoon. Fifty-one patients have been evacuated, each discharged or transferred to another Centura facility. The spokesperson said several patients using ventilators were among those who were evacuated and transferred to other hospitals.

Yesterday the Police Department announced the evacuation of the Broomfield Detention Center. "All inmates have been evacuated and are fine," the administration wrote on Twitter. "Prisoners have been moved to another facility. Broomfield Detention Center is closed."

So far, Bailey said, hundreds of buildings, including more than 580 homes, have been lost to the fire.

Chief Mayor Clint Folsom told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH that it is likely that at least 200 buildings, including residences, in the city, have been lost.

"This situation is still very active and volatile," he told the station.

The town was quickly evacuated, and Folsom said he was not aware of any injuries or deaths.

A hospital spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that six patients were transferred to UCHealth Broomfield, which serves the Boulder area, due to fire injuries.

Bailey said one officer sustained a minor eye injury from wind debris, who he said was unaware of any other damages or deaths at this time.

"However, I would like to stress that due to the size of this fire, the severity of this fire, and its presence in such a densely populated area, we would not be surprised if there are casualties or deaths," he said.

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