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Man Scuba Dives To Retrieve Guitar Collection From Basement

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A Schmelzer family keepsake that can't be replaced (credit: CBS)

A Schmelzer family keepsake that can’t be replaced (credit: CBS)

Investigator Rick Sallinger

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado and the nation are starting to get the first glimpse into many of the communities hit hard by the flooding over the last few days. CBS4’s Rick Sallinger went up in the foothills of Boulder County and discovered it was very easy to find damage.

When Sallinger arrived in the area on Monday he heard stories about multimillion dollar homes filled with as much as 9 1/2 feet of mud. Water was still coming down the hills and into the homes.

Rich Schmelzer’s family first spotted the water early Thursday coming up through the toilets.

“Then the water kept building up and coming down through here (an area near the home),” Schmelzer said.

Schmelzer and Sallinger then walked to the backyard.

“That’s my daughter Jules … we’re trying to clean out all the home videotapes and everything that is obviously the most valuable,” Schmelzer said.

They then went down into the basement.

“It kind of came in different ways, so the first floor got damaged that way, than it came in this way,” Schmelzer said, pointing out different areas of the basement.

Sallinger asked Schmelzer how high the mud was. Schmelzer pointed out a line halfway up the basement wall.

It’s more than just a basement. It’s also a stage where charity events are held.

“I was down here diving, scuba diving for all my guitars,” Schmelzer said.

Instead of doing cleaning in the laundry room, it’s now covered in dirt. Upstairs Schmelzer’s wife Sheri, the creator of Jibbitz for Crocs shoes, was doing her best to save the precious items that can’t be replaced.

“It’s just complete chaos, I think. We’re trying to understand what happened,” Sheri Schmelzer said. “I don’t think I can do this.”

For a lot of people the flood has stolen items that just can’t be replaced. The Schmelzer’s block is not considered to be in a flood plain, therefore they have no flood insurance.

As Sallinger traveled farther south he was able to get into Eldorado Springs that managed to survive 16 inches of rain.

“It was dramatic at the time — at the height of the rain and flooding, it was dramatic and there was a lot of uncertainty,” an Eldorado Springs resident said.

The homes here were intact, but ground level was filled with mud. A bucket brigade was formed to get rid of the unwanted visitor.

“See that hillside up there?” a resident pointed out to Sallinger. “That hillside just sluffed down into the ditch on Thursday night. It clogged the ditch, unfortunately.”

The hot springs pool seems okay, but the state park road is washed out.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

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