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Marshall Fire

Authorities identify Boulder County man as first confirmed death in Marshall fire

The county coroner’s office continues to investigate the death of Robert Sharpe, 69

Flames carried by wind consume grasses along Coalton Road, east of McCaslin Boulevard, Superior, CO. Tuesday, December 30, 2021. (Jeremy Sparig, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Authorities have identified a Boulder County man whose remains were found in the aftermath of the Marshall fire. 

The partial remains of Robert Sharpe, 69, were located in the 5900 block of Marshall Road, not far from where the Dec. 30 fire began, the Boulder County Coroner’s Office said Friday.

Robert Sharpe, 69. (Photo provided by Boulder County Office of Emergency Management)

His cause and manner of death remain under investigation, the office said. 

Sharpe was one of two people who were reported missing after the wind-fueled fire raced across Louisville, Superior and unincorporated Boulder County.

He was a longtime Boulder resident who worked in the construction industry for many years, his family said in a written statement Friday. Sharpe was active in community affairs and concerned with children’s rights, they said.

Sharpe owned a home at 5941 Marshall Drive, according to the Boulder County Assessor’s Office. The property is on the county’s list of burned homes

His home was in the area that Boulder County officials said received the first batch of evacuation warnings at 11:47 a.m., nearly 42 minutes after the fire sparked, according to data from the county’s emergency management office. 

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The warnings were sent through the county’s emergency mass notification system called Everbridge, which automatically loads landlines into the system. Since the fire, officials and residents have acknowledged problems with the evacuation process

It’s unclear if Sharpe ever received an automated phone call warning him to flee.

Sharpe’s family thanked first responders for their “untiring efforts and sensitive concern.”

“We will be forever grateful for their diligence, compassion, and understanding as they spared no effort to find the missing,” the family said in a statement.

The other missing person has been identified by family members as 91-year-old Nadine Turnbull of Superior, according to published reports. Authorities have declined to confirm that information. 

The search for the second missing person is focused in the 1500 block of South 76th Street in Superior, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said earlier this week.

The Marshall fire destroyed 1,084 homes collectively worth more than $513 million, authorities said, easily making it Colorado’s most destructive fire in history.