Grand County Sheriff Schroetlin took to Facebook to confirm suspicions that two had been killed by the East Troublesome Fire on Wednesday.
In a Friday night announcement, Sheriff Schroetlin stated that Lyle and Marylin Hileman, 86 and 84, had died at their residence outside of Grand Lake, Colorado. They were aware of mandatory evacuation orders issued Wednesday and chose not to leave. They wanted to stay with their home that had been in the family for many years despite how rapidly the fire was growing.
Authorities were able to get to the home to investigate claims that the couple had stayed behind on Friday. The home was completely burned and bodies were found inside.
One of the couple's grandchildren also took to Twitter to share the sad news. They stated that the couple was found in each other's arms.
The family provided a statement that the Sheriff read during the press conference:
"Our parents, Lyle and Marylin Hileman, loved Grand Lake. Married at a young age, they honeymooned in the area in 1952. Years later, they would buy the property adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. The property became a lifelong mission to create "Heaven on Earth" to which family, friends and strangers, who quickly became friends, would be drawn. On Wednesday evening, several friends contacted them with offers of support in the evacuation. Their friend, Richard Kline, along with safety officials drove through road blocks in an effort to rescue the Hilemans. All offers to leave were refused. At 86 and 84 years of age, their only desire was to be together in the home they loved. In the spring of 2020 they sold the property to their son, Glen, with hopes of staying there as long as physically possible. On the evening of Oct. 21, they called Glen with news: ‘It happened.’ When pressed, they then shared the fire had began in the fields, barns and adjacent homes. They were calm, resolute and adamant they would not leave. They asked Glen to call his siblings and let them know that they were in their basement in an area they felt safe. Prior to hanging up the phone, Marilyn confirmed they smelled smoke. After contacting all of his siblings, Glen attempted to contact his parents again but there was no answer. It would be late Thursday before confirmation would come that the house was destroyed, but our family feels comfort in the knowledge our parents left this world together, and on their own terms. They leave a legacy of hard work and determination to overcome, something all of Grand County will need. Our family looks forward to continuing their legacy on the property and working shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors in rebuilding and restoring the sacred part of God’s world."
Condolences go out to the friends and family of the Hilemans.
On Friday evening it was announced that the East Troublesome Fire had grown to 188,079 acres. This was roughly 18,000 acres of growth compared to what had been reported on Friday morning.
UPDATE: Find the Monday morning update on the East Troublesome Fire here.