Family of elderly couple killed in Colorado wildfire determined to rebuild


GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (NewsNation Now) — The son of the couple killed in the East Troublesome fire says they plan to rebuild the home that was destroyed and are determined to help the Colorado community recover.

Lyle Hileman, 86 and his wife Marylin, 84 died when the fire moved onto their property, destroying almost everything. The couple refused offers to help them evacuate and instead, took shelter in their basement. 

“They put their trust in God,” said their son, Glenn Hileman, “they were in an area they felt very safe.”
Glenn says he got a call from his mother as the fire was approaching.

“She was as calm as she could have been and just explained the fire was in the meadow, the barn was already on fire. They didn’t think the house was but they were concerned enough that they went downstairs and asked me to call my siblings,” said he.

Glenn Hileman tried calling his mother again but did not get an answer. 

The Hileman’s moved onto the property nearly 30 years earlier. Glenn Hileman says it was a lifelong dream of theirs to have a home in the mountains. 

“They put together the means to raise a family of five. Everything they had they threw into their family and what was left went into the mountain property,” he said.

On Friday, Glenn and other family members were able to return to the property for the first time since the fire with help from Grand County officials.

“They knew we had some concerns and they were trying make every effort possible to get us as close to the property as we could to pay our respects,” said Glenn Hilemann. 

A majority of the property was destroyed. However, two trees planted by the Hileman’s were untouched. 

“They had always wanted to be cremated and have their ashes sprinkled between those trees. We were able to complete that,” said he.

While paying their respects, the family hoisted a new American flag on the pole that also survived the fire. Glenn hopes the flag sends a message of hope to the entire community of Grand County.

“There was a unity there that we know will continue on. It was kind of an indication to my entire family that we will rebuild that yellow house,” Glenn said.

“It was meaningful to everybody — my siblings, nieces, nephews. Everyone in the Hileman family has been affected by that home and the memories that were created there.”

NewsNation affiliate KDVR contributed to this report.

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