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Search & Rescue Ground Team Makes Way Up Left Hand Canyon

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A house in Left Hand Canyon being marked after it was checked by FEMA search and rescue crews (credit: CBS)

A house in Left Hand Canyon being marked after it was checked by FEMA search and rescue crews (credit: CBS)

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The mouth of Left Hand Canyon is an absolute mess after the flooding. Homes are under water and cars are scattered about — all from a very small creek.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger got the chance to accompany a search and rescue team on Tuesday as they went door-to-door – or maybe more like window-to-window — to examine all the homes submerged in the water.

Sallinger went along with what is called the FEMA Swiftwater/Flood Search and Rescue Team. Their task is to find anyone who may still be trapped in Left Hand Canyon. Each house was carefully marked after being checked.

“We’re going down and marking a way point for each house that we’ve searched in order to give us an accurate idea,” Lloyd Mueller with FEMA Search and Rescue said.

Huy Lam barely made out of his home, which is now surrounded by water.

“My car stalled and I couldn’t get it to start and I got out, and by then it was like knee-deep water flowing all around me, and thankfully … it was uphill and I ran up here and it was dry,” Lam said.

One resident seemed desperate to get to his house, but was told it was too dangerous and was persuaded to leave.

“We just advise everybody not to go into the water. So we want everybody to just stay clear of the water and stay out,” a rescue team member said. “Wait for the water to recede.”

The houses the team searched seemed to fall into two different categories. They’ve either slid into the water or have been consumed by it.

David Mamolen got lucky.

“It was very frightening. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Mamolen said.

Houses are filled with water and mud in the garages were cars once were parked. For those who live in the once-ideally canyon, it’s now the end of the road.

Beyond where Sallinger toured is Jamestown where there was a lot more damage that was done. The FEMA team fortunately found no one dead or trapped inside those homes.

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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