COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Evacuees from the Black Forest Fire are ready to get back home.
Colorado state troopers still have the area blocked off at Highway 83 and Powers Boulevard. They are directing traffic away and as days go on, emotions are running high among the evacuees.
“The fire started about three blocks from our house, so we were one of the first people out of there,” evacuee Landon Phillips said.
Wearing the same clothes for the last four days, Phillips attended a community meeting on Saturday for answers.
“When they think we’ll be back in, when they think we’ll have electricity and when they think we’ll have gas, and to find out about my neighbors,” he said.
The meeting was the first time the evacuees all came together. Some saw their neighbors for the first time in days.
“I want to make sure that everyone understands that we’re in this together, this is a community,” an official at the meeting told the group.
But tell that to Shawn Galvin, who left the meeting with dozens of others frustrated.
“We want to know information, we want to know when we can get back in,” Galvin said. “What’s burnt, what isn’t? You know, real things.”
“We just want one thing to go home with that we didn’t know when we came in here, and we’re not getting that,” another evacuee said.
Those frustrations led some to the daily news briefing where El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said it’s hard to pinpoint when evacuees can go home.
“A term that has been used by those deputies is that it looks like a nuclear bomb went off in some of those areas,” Maketa said. “You can’t even recognize if it was a house or some other kind of structure. That is the level of incineration and destruction that took place in some areas.”
As the crews inch closer to handling the blaze, Phillips is thankful to be safe with friends.
“The community has really been good to us,” he said.
Maketa told evacuees to not try and sneak back their homes. Evacuees should contact the Disaster Assistance Center of El Paso County. They can help evacuees with whatever they need. They will even accompany residents back home and help them go through their belonging when they are allowed to go back home.
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