Colorado wildfire victims return home


Hundreds of residents of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood in Colorado Springs, which was heavily damaged by the Waldo Canyon fire, line up for an 8-hour window to visit their properties on Sunday.


Spencer Platt

Residents affected by the so-called Waldo Canyon Fire that has devastated parts of Colorado Springs have begun returning home.

A total of 346 homes and over 17,000 acres have been destroyed by the blaze, Reuters reports, describing it as the "most destructive wildfire in Colorado history."  Over 35,000 people had to be evacuated at the peak of the fire, and two people were killed.

The news agency quotes Governor John Hickenlooper as saying: "It was like your worst nightmare of a movie," but he added that the worst was over with almost all of the seven blazes under control by Sunday night.

The ABC says a total of 24 houses were looted during the disaster.

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Associated Press says 7,000 people were allowed to return home for good on Sunday, with 3,000 still evacuated.   It describes a "random path of destruction" and how one woman named as CJ Moore, found that nothing remained of her house except the concrete, while the letters in her mailbox were intact.

"It's just unreal. Unreal," she said. "Good lord! I've never seen anything like this. Thank God there were no people here. There would have been no been no hope."

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CNN spoke to another resident, Susan Solich, who is caring for her four young grandsons, whose parents both died in the past year. The news service says she drove onto the street where she'd lived for 18 years to find some trees and homes still standing, but not hers.

"I've seen pictures, but it didn't really impact me the way it did, turning into my driveway. My home was gone, it was imploded into the ground," she said.

Authorities still haven't determined the cause of the fire.