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More Fire Evacuees Learn Their Homes Were Lost

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Evacuees hug each other after learning the fate of their homes in the path of the High Park Fire burning west of Fort Collins. (credit: CBS)

Evacuees hug each other after learning the fate of their homes in the path of the High Park Fire burning west of Fort Collins. (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- More evacuees from the High Park Fire learned Friday afternoon that their homes had been lost to the massive fire.

It was an emotional day for many who have been worried about their homes and property for nearly a week.

“His father built that cabin 35 or 40 years ago and we’ve got a lot of family memories. Really we’ve lost some mementos from him,” said evacuee Cyndi Ceccheinelli.

The Disaster Recovery Center on the Colorado State University campus is designed to help those who have lost everything rebuild. That includes not only the structure that was lost but everything in it, including birth certificates, valuables and connections that help residents to move forward. More Info

“It’s about the next step in recovery. People want to know what’s next,” said Larimer County spokeswoman Deni La Rue.

One man who watched his home burn earlier this week said the event put him in the hospital.

“Monday on the hill, on Bingham Hill, watching everything burn down I was going like this… and she said, ‘There’s something wrong,’ ” said evacuee Gary Kuzniar.

Kuzniar said he had a stroke watching his home burn. It was the same home that he’d let his homeowner’s insurance lapse and now he has nothing.

He said he was taken to McKee Medical Center where he was cared for, clothed and even more, “All the nurses and doctors took up a collection and gave me $200. You don’t see that anymore. I’m sorry, I’m crying, but man that was awesome.”

Now Kunziar is looking to the future.

“The doctors gave me a new chance to live and I was within three hours of kicking the bucket with this stroke,” said Kuzniar.

The fire is burning west of Fort Collins. It has burned 52,068 acres and is 15 percent contained. Additional firefighters have arrived with more than 1,387 personnel working on the fire with a 24-hour schedule with night shifts and day shifts. That’s in addition to 20 aircraft involved in the battle from above.

The fire has cost $7.2 million to fight so far. It has destroyed 112 homes.

Those who live in areas where property damage has been confirmed can call (970) 619-4086 to find out the status of their home. This phone line will be staffed from 8 a.m. from 5 p.m.

One person has died in the fire. Linda Steadman, 62, was killed in her cabin which was in an evacuation zone. Emergency crews’ efforts to reach her by phone and in person failed.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfire (Fourmile Fire) and largest wildfire (Hayman Fire) in Colorado history.

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