Jan 5, 2022 - News

Louisville police chief loses home in fire he helped battle

Aerial photos of the devastated neighborhoods left behind from the Marshall Fire in Louisville.
Aerial photos of the devastated neighborhoods left behind from the Marshall Fire in Louisville. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post via Getty Images

Louisville Police chief David Hayes experienced the destruction of the Marshall Fire firsthand.

State of play: His house was consumed by the flames. His car melted in the driveway. His uniform was charred. "What used to be a house was mostly collapsed into what was our basement," the chief told the Colorado Sun.

What happened: The first flames Hayes saw last Thursday were outside his office window as the station's landscaping caught fire.

  • He evacuated the building and then spent hours at a King Soopers planning and executing the evacuation of the town.

How he found out: The eight-year veteran chief says he didn't think about his own house until much later. He lives alone in the home he's had for 32 years.

  • He found his neighborhood decimated late Thursday evening. He's visited once and doesn't plan to go back.
  • "I was there just a few minutes that night," Hayes told reporters. "At this point, I'm not sure I want to go back. It's part of those emotions."

What's next: Hayes, who is campaigning to replace Boulder County sheriff Joe Pelle in the 2022 election, plans to rebuild.

  • "This might sound crazy, but I want the same exact house back," he said. "I want the same rooms where they are. The furnishings, of course, will be different."

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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