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Hickenlooper Declares Disaster After Manitou Springs Flooding

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CBS4's Tom Mustin stands where Laura Hunter's cottage once stood (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Tom Mustin stands where Laura Hunter’s cottage once stood (credit: CBS)

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MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper has declared a disaster emergency in El Paso County after Friday night’s flash flooding in Manitou Springs. The designation will make resources available to help pay for storm cleanup.

The residents in the area can’t catch a break as rain has continued almost daily since the destructive flooding and mudslides occurred on Friday.

A slap of concrete is basically all that is left of Laura Hunter’s cottage. She had to be rescued from a tree five blocks from where her home once stood when the water came barreling down the canyon on Friday. Water knocked the home from its moorings with Hunter inside and residents say scenes like that may be just the beginning.

Fifty-year resident Jim Wilson and his family face an uncertain future.

“We’re going to lose friends and neighbors, and that’s not a good thing,” Wilson said.

A still image from video taken by Jim Wilson's son of a piece of Laura Hunter's cottage being swept away with her inside (credit; CBS)

A still image from video taken by Jim Wilson’s son of a piece of Laura Hunter’s cottage being swept away with her inside (credit; CBS)

Wilson’s son shot video Friday that showed a wall of water across Canyon Avenue, carrying cars, debris and Hunter’s home, with Hunter still inside.

“Water started pouring into my living room window and quickly, real quickly. I had no time to gather anything, not my pets or anything,” Hunter said from her hospital room.

Hunter suffered a broken leg and foot and nearly drowned, but survived.

“My cottage totally is gone,” she said.

Fire Chief Keith Buckmiller says fire mitigation in the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar helped but the already saturated ground can’t take much more. He said the residents are going to have to endure more flash flooding.

“We don’t have permanent solutions,” Buckmiller said.

As residents clean up and prepare for more flooding, Mother Nature always has the final say.

“She pretty much does whatever she wants, whenever she wants,” Buckmiller said.

Because the heavier rain missed the burn scar on Monday there was only minor flooding in Manitou Springs, but with more rain this week they predict the worse may yet to come.

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