Marshall Fire causes profound impacts

LOUISVILLE and SUPERIOR — The Boulder County Sheriff has released a preliminary list of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed during last month’s Marshall Fire.

The fire burned an estimated 6,219 acres, with 991 structures destroyed and 127 damaged. Superior lost 332 structures, with 60 damaged. Louisville lost 553 structures, with 45 damaged. Another 106 structures were destroyed in unincorporated Boulder County, with 22 damaged.

Eight businesses in Louisville were destroyed, all at 1116 W. Dillon Road. Those include: The Rotary; Royalty Nails & Spa; You You Massage; Subway; Youthbar Med Spa; At the Beach; Beyond Care Suboxone Clinic; and Havana Manor.

Additionally, the La Quinta Inn at 902 W. Dillon Road was damaged. Centura Health’s Avista Adventist Hospital, which was not damaged from fire, sustained significant smoke damage and has said it will remain closed “for the foreseeable future.”

In Superior, the Element Hotel at 1 S. Marshall Road was destroyed, with another 10 businesses damaged. Those include: Superior Marketplace; Chuck E. Cheese, 305 Marshall Road; Target, 400 Marshall Road; Whole Foods, 303 Marshall Road; Office Max, 410 Center Drive; PetsMart, 410 Center Drive; Bank of the West, 400 Center Drive; Conoco gas station, 191 Marshall Road; Tesla, 2. S. Marshall Road; and Mishaki, 402 Marshall Road.

The town of Superior’s Town Hall also sustained damage.

A Target spokesperson told BizWest that the store had sustained “significant smoke and water damage,” with a full assessment of the damage yet to occur.

Residents and businesses seeking to recover from their losses in the fire will face an uphill battle, according to industry sources.

Skyrocketing property values and supply chain shortages make it unlikely that many home or business insurance policies will cover the full cost of rebuilding. 

“Statewide, we’ve had all these increases in property values, and very often the policies don’t keep up,” said Brad Levin, partner at the Denver law firm Levin Sitcoff Waneka.

Levin and Nelson Waneka, also a partner at Levin Sitcoff Waneka, represent policyholders against insurance companies. Their experience includes representing people who lost their homes in the October 2020 East Troublesome Fire, the second-largest fire in Colorado’s recorded history.

“I feel confident in saying the vast majority of Coloradans are underinsured for their homes,” Waneka said. “It’s even more than just property values. The cost of construction has increased even more.”

In the Boulder area, average median sales prices are hovering near the all-time-highs that were set in 2021. And the construction industry has been suffering from shortages of everything from steel to lumber to asphalt to labor.

“The cost of rebuilding a home goes up so much more than inflation,” Waneka said. “It’s even more acute in fire-danger areas. All the contractors in the area are going to be inundated … Then you have the supply-chain issues from COVID that are still around and probably going to get worse. That’s like the levy breaking after a hurricane. That’s the only way I can describe it when it comes to the cost of rebuilding.”

Levin said that some policies may come with risers for inflation, but that those often don’t match the actual inflation rate. Oftentimes, homeowners and businesspeople will purchase the most-affordable policy, then not update their policy limits as it goes unused for years. And insurance companies and agents won’t always advise policyholders when they’re covered for less than the cost to rebuild.

For homeowners and businesspeople who suffered a loss during the Marshall Fire, Levin and Waneka said that, as hard as it may be, it’s important to not be intimidated by their insurance companies. 

“It can be a very daunting experience at a time when they’re down as it is,” Levin said. “It becomes a very arduous process. Can you imagine having to make a list of every single thing of personal property that you have? Very few people have that kind of preparation. If you’re making a claim, stick with it. Don’t just accept what the insurance company says.”

Added Waneka: “Keep at it. Don’t lose faith. Keep going and put everything in writing and don’t be afraid to push back if you disagree with something the insurance company says.”

LOUISVILLE and SUPERIOR — The Boulder County Sheriff has released a preliminary list of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed during last month’s Marshall Fire.

The fire burned an estimated 6,219 acres, with 991 structures destroyed and 127 damaged. Superior lost 332 structures, with 60 damaged. Louisville lost 553 structures, with 45 damaged. Another 106 structures were destroyed in unincorporated Boulder County, with 22 damaged.

Eight businesses in Louisville were destroyed, all at 1116 W. Dillon Road. Those include: The Rotary; Royalty Nails & Spa; You You Massage; Subway; Youthbar Med Spa; At the Beach; Beyond Care Suboxone Clinic; and Havana Manor.

Additionally, the La Quinta Inn at 902 W. Dillon Road was damaged. Centura Health’s Avista Adventist Hospital, which was not damaged from fire, sustained significant smoke damage and has said it will remain closed “for the foreseeable future.”

In Superior, the Element Hotel at 1 S. Marshall Road was destroyed, with another 10 businesses damaged. Those include: Superior Marketplace; Chuck E. Cheese, 305 Marshall Road; Target, 400 Marshall Road; Whole Foods, 303 Marshall Road; Office Max, 410 Center Drive; PetsMart, 410 Center Drive; Bank of the West, 400 Center Drive; Conoco gas station, 191 Marshall Road; Tesla, 2. S. Marshall Road; and Mishaki, 402 Marshall Road.

The town of Superior’s Town Hall also sustained damage.

A Target spokesperson told BizWest that the store had sustained “significant smoke and water damage,” with a full assessment of the damage yet to occur.

Residents and businesses seeking to recover from their losses in the fire will face an…