The family wonder if it’s safe to move into the house after the Marshall fire


A Louisville family wonders if it’s safe to return to their home in a neighborhood burned down by the Marshall Fire, even after work to clear the smoke and ashes.

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Nine months after the Marshal Fire, there are still many questions from the families whose houses have survived. Some wonder if it’s safe to live there even after a ton of work getting rid of the smoke and ash.

On one side of Diane Ballard’s neighborhood in Louisville, families are beginning to rebuild their homes. On the other side, the damage is harder to see.

“Everyone thinks when your house hasn’t burned down, ‘Oh, you just moved in again. That’s great,'” Ballard said. “It wasn’t like that at all.”

She and her neighbors feel lucky to have homes. But given the proximity of the flames, they wonder if it is safe to live in these houses.

“He entered every nook and cranny of our home,” she said. “We have neighbors who have ash in their kitchen cabinets. It came from behind and worked its way into their outlets.”

Ballard and his family returned to their home in June after cleaning the house. They ripped out the carpet, repainted the walls and replaced the windows.

She wonders if that wasn’t enough.

“I have physical symptoms,” she said. “I don’t feel well in our house and they have been there since we came back.”

Ballard said she felt a burning sensation around her lips and mouth and had a scratchy throat. She said these symptoms go away when she leaves the house.

“Later in the process — several months later — people started realizing that we needed to bring industrial hygienists into our homes to do testing,” she said. “Again, I wonder why no one mentioned this from the start.”

One of his neighbors still hasn’t moved in nine months later. Ballard said a company told them they needed to remove the drywall as well.

“We’ve brought our kids home and wonder what the long-term health outcomes will be for our families,” Ballard said.

Recovery hasn’t been easy for them either, even when things may seem normal on his side of the street.

“Very difficult in many ways,” she said.

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