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Black Forest Fire evacuees seek answers

Fire investigation, death investigation complicate matters

Fire Evacuees Seek Answers

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - Black Forest residents living nearest the starting point of the wildfire could be away from their properties twice as long as other neighbors.

Authorities are not only investigating the fire's cause.  They're also conducting a criminal probe into the deaths of  Marc Allen Herklotz, 52, and his wife, Robin Lauran Herklotz, 50, of 6720 Jicarilla Drive in Black Forest.

Their bodies were found in their garage not far from where authorities believe the fire began and where the blaze was most intense, authorities said.  Deaths in such cases are initially considered criminal until proven otherwise.

Sid Webb, a fire evacuee, rented a home in that area.  He said he moved in only a few months ago, and realized when the fire began a week ago that his home was lost.

"I saw helicopter video on KRDO NewsChannel 13," Webb said.  "It's weird for me to watch my house burning over and over."

Webb said despite the loss of his home, he and his wife are anxious to know when they can return and see what they can salvage.  However, the fact that his property is part of a crime scene makes arriving at a timetable difficult.

"How do you comprehend that?"  asked Webb.  "I'll be patient and let (authorities) do their job.  I don't know how long it'll be before we can get back in."

Webb said what he'll most miss is the memorabilia from three wars his father served in.

"Our house was like a paradise sitting on a hill," he said.  "It was just incredibly beautiful.  Now it's all gone."

Webb said he and his wife haven't decided whether they'll continue to live in Black Forest.

"We obviously have big questions for the future," he said.  "On the one hand, yes.  On the other hand, I don't know how well I'd sleep at night." 

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