Colorado 'cult' group's property part of deadly wildfire investigation

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Property owned by a group described by the FBI as a “cult” is now being considered part of an investigation into how the Marshall Fire began in Colorado.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said that the land owned by Twelve Tribes is part of an investigation into the source of the Marshall Fire, which began in Boulder County on Dec. 30 and destroyed over 900 structures and forced around 30,000 to evacuate the area, according to officials.

The Boulder County Sheriff made the announcement that the property owned by the Twelve Tribes is under investigation during a press conference on Monday.

“Is the twelve tribes compound or property part of that investigation still?,” a reporter asked.

A Christmas tree is still lit with Christmas lights as fires rage in the background on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado.
(Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“It is,” Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said. “And it will be, and that’s widely known and understood.”

Pelle added that the area around the Twelve Tribes property is also being investigated, and added that investigators have not eliminated or honed in on “one specific thing.”

“We haven’t eliminated or honed in on any one specific thing. It’s an open investigation. We’re going to do it right. It’s going to take some time. You’re going to lose your patience because it’s going to take a while,” Pelle said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency which allows the state to gain access to disaster emergency funds.

The Twelve Tribes describes themselves as a “confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, made up of self-governing communities.”

A man walks a foot path  Friday near the remains of homes burned by wildfires after they ripped through a development in Superior, Colo. 
(AP/David Zalubowski)

“By community, we mean families and single people who live together in homes and on farms. We are disciples of the Son of God, whom we call by His Hebrew name Yahshua. We follow the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and live like the early disciples in Acts chapters 2 and 4. With all of our hearts, we want to do our Father’s will, which is to love one another and be a light to the nations; so that they could see our life of love and know how much their Creator loves them,” the Twelve Tribes website states.

The Yellow Deli in Boulder, which is owned by the Twelve Tribes, states that it is temporarily closed “due to being evacuated from the Marshall Fire.”

Structures burn, including an Element Hotel, as a wind-driven wildfire forced evacuation of the Superior suburb of Boulder, Colorado, U.S. December 30, 2021.  Trevor Hughes/USA Today Network via Reuters
(Trevor Hughes/USA Today Network via Reuters)

Records from the Federal Bureau of Investigation describe the group as a “cult” and show that the group has been investigated following several complaints regarding child abuse.

According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s office, the fire has destroyed 991 structures and an additional 127 are damaged.

The sheriff’s office declined to comment further when contacted by Fox News, citing the active investigation.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and Greg Norman contributed to this report.

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