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Homes in Flames, Possessions Lost as Fire Ravages Boulder Area With PM-Fires Rdp, Bjt

July 11, 1989

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ The Weber family managed to carry a few armloads of possessions to three waiting cars before turning to watch their Boulder Canyon home go up in flames.

″The fire was so intense it just engulfed the house,″ said Brian Weber, 18.

Weber had tried to protect the house by clearing a 60-foot swathe around it with a chainsaw.

He tried spraying the house with a garden hose, and draping it with wet blankets.

Nothing worked.

″We got the TV and the computer, the expensive stuff,″ said his mother, Laurette Weber, 45. ″What we got out the door in about 10 minutes is all.

″We didn’t get any pictures, heirlooms, or anything like that. We got the clothes on our back.″

The Webers, interviewed Monday in the lobby of a shelter at Fairview High School, were among more than 40 families displaced by the massive fire near Sugarloaf Mountain, about 10 miles west of Boulder in north-central Colorado.

Alexia Sokolov said she barely got out of her home alive.

″First, I smelled smoke, and then I saw the flames,″ she said, still coughing.

″I was thinking I had more time than I did,″ she said. ″It’s really strange to think very quickly what you want out of 35 years of your life.″

In addition to their home, the Webers lost eight sheep, eight goats and a pickup truck. They are unsure if their chickens survived the fire. They did save their two dogs and at least two of their four cats.

Dressed in sooty jeans, a T-shirt and a yellow Sugarloaf Volunteer Fire Department jacket, Laurette Weber said she, her husband and their two sons will rebuild their home, which was uninsured.

″If the foundation’s good, we’ll start there,″ she said. ″If not, we’ll tear it out and start all over ... I imagine we’ll do it ourselves. We can’t afford to pay someone to do it for us.″

The family spent Sunday night on bare floors at a friend’s empty house.

Wanda Gilmer, who lives in the same area, said her house had been spared so far, ″but it could go.″

She added, ″I told my husband I never did like the style of that kitchen. It gives me a chance to redo it.″

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