In the line of fire

Dome fire evacuations affect 1,700 in Boulder

Jefferson Dodge | Boulder Weekly

A little under two months since the devastating Fourmile fire, Boulder is once again battling a blaze, this time a little closer to home. With evacuations extending into portions of the city, residents were deciding whether to stay or go.

Ashleigh Hitchcock, who lives on Maxwell between 5th and 6th streets, told Boulder Weekly that she is not terribly worried about the Dome fire, but she’s leaving anyway.

“I’m just grabbing my baby books and toothbrushes and birth certificates,” said Hitchcock, who has three children under the age of 14.

She said a friend had dropped off her pickup truck for Hitchcock to use, but it broke down as soon as it rolled up to her house, so she has to travel light and is taking only a backpack.

“I have a bike,” she said. “I’m going to my kids’ school for a Halloween party. It’s really going to spoil trick-or-treating on Mapleton Hill if no one’s home.”

Her friend, who also lives in the area and declined to give his name, said he is not going to evacuate. “If my house burns down, I would kind of like to watch it,” he said.

Hitchcock said he hid in his bathroom when the police came to his door earlier that morning.

A few blocks south, Josh Brookstein, who is a caregiver for an elderly man who lives in the area, had loaded the man and his wheelchair into his car and was going to head to the Omni Hotel in Broomfield. He was debating which route to take, since he had heard U.S. Hwy. 36 was packed. Brookstein said he found out about the fire because of a power outage and because a neighbor had gotten a reverse-911 call.

Dorcas McDonald, who was moving belongings out of her daughter’s home near the intersection of 5th and Maxwell, expressed confidence that the fire would be contained before it got to the neighborhood.

“I’m not worried about it,” she told Boulder Weekly. “They caught it early, and they are extremely organized. But you never can tell. The winds could pick up. I don’t blame them for doing what they are doing.”

Her next-door neighbor, Amy Zarzicki, said she woke up around 10 a.m. because she smelled smoke. A friend texted her to see if she needed a place to stay. She says she was going to look up information on her computer, but the power was out. So she left, went to The Laughing Goat, where she works, and found out about the evacuation.

Despite reverse-911 calls and door-to-door visits from police telling residents to evacuate the area, Zarzicki said she she wishes there had been some leafleting or information distributed via loudspeakers.