Residents of Bell Flatirons hold ashes after Marshall fire

LOUSIVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) – The Marshall Fire that tore through Boulder County just under two months ago destroyed homes and impacted indoor air conditions for people living in the area.

Sean and Halley Burkhardt, who have lived in the Bell Flatirons apartment complex for three years, were directly affected. Halley said the fire happened within 100 yards of their apartment and they were now dealing with the aftermath of the ash in their unit.

“When it was daylight, we could see ashes. Specifically in our bedroom,” Halley said.

At first, Halley tried to clean the ash from the blinds and the area under the HVAC unit, but she quickly learned it was toxic.

“My husband and I had frequent headaches and dry throats,” Halley said.

She said she emailed, called and visited the apartment complex office to ask for professionals to come into the unit to clean up the ashes.

“I asked them to replace the filters and check the attic and the insulation up there, but they didn’t respond to those requests,” Halley said.

She contacted the problem solvers for help. She told us that they had been trying to work with resort management for several weeks and had reached breaking point due to lack of response.

“We just wish they would put our health first and give us an answer on what they are doing and making sure everyone is safe,” Halley said.

The couple even went to the extreme of having a doctor’s note sent to the resort to help justify the cleaning that Halley said needed to take place.

She said they finally received a response from the resort on Friday, asking them to fill out a disability form in order to submit the complaint to the company to try to get approval for the unit to be cleaned.

A spokesperson for Bell Apartments sent the following statement:

We understand that it has been a difficult time with the aftermath of the fire throughout the region. We have worked closely with residents of Bell Flatirons who have come to us with concerns about smoke damage or health issues related to the air quality in the area. We are willing to discuss options and potential accommodations with any resident who has questions or concerns. »

Bell irons

The spokesperson also said it provided replacement air filters “for the majority of units, including any residents who specifically requested one.”

Halley said her unit never received a letter that management entered the apartment and changed the filter. She showed the problem solvers the door to their HVAC system where the filter would be replaced. It is locked and residents cannot open it.

FOX31 sent this information to the spokesperson, who replied, “As part of the unit visit to restart utilities, we made many filter changes at this time. Residents were notified when management planned to restart their utilities, but did not necessarily receive individual notification of their filter change. »

Halley said they were trying to move, but it seemed like a bigger mountain to climb.

“We were told we had to pay a $3,600 penalty to break our lease, and on top of the moving costs and the housing shortage, it just wasn’t financially feasible,” Halley said.

For now, she said they are relying on a self-bought air filter that they move around the unit until they can clean everything up or find a new place to live. The couple are also meeting with a lawyer to help them.

“For the first week, the air quality was 0% and continues to change as the air unit operates,” Halley said.

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