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Rescues Slow Down In Larimer County As Hundreds Refuse To Leave

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Damage along the Big Thompson River (credit: CBS)

Damage along the Big Thompson River (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- Those evacuated by helicopter from cutoff neighborhoods in Larimer County totaled only eight on Wednesday as hundreds of those trapped refused to leave their homes.

It’s something that emergency officials and rescue crews feared after Tuesday’s evacuation effort resulted in far fewer rescues than expected.

They planned on taking 300-400 people out of danger in Larimer County but actually only rescued 114 people.

The total number of evacuations from Larimer County has reached more than 1,100. At least 450 people are still trapped in the flood zone.

Even with 10 helicopters working on Wednesday to take people to safer areas crews only moved a handful of people. Hundreds more refused to leave their homes.

“There are a lot of individuals that don’t have a desire to leave. We’ve let them know that this is their opportunity and we’ve also let them know that there is a lot of road damage below them and it’s going to be quite some time before they will have access back out,” said Chuck Russell with the Rocky Mountain Incident Command.

Those crews asked residents to reconsider their decision before they miss out on their chance to get out.

RELATED: Larimer Co. Wednesday 3 p.m. News Conference

“We did send photographs with some of the search and rescue crews of the damage in particularly the Big Thompson Canyon so those who are up there in those isolated locations could see the magnitude of that and make a good decision for themselves,” said Larimer Co. Sheriff’s Office Executive Director Nick Christensen.

There are a limited number of days in Colorado where emergency workers can take advantage of additional helicopters and FEMA crews.

“I would ask all of them to go through a little bit of risk management process on their own and have an understanding that if something were to happen to them medically or otherwise up there, the 911 process isn’t what it used to be. An ambulance can’t get on the highway and drive to their house anymore. It has to be accessed by the air,” said Russell.

“With all that in mind, at this point only eight evacuations have come through Christman Field via helicopter today so a very small number but we are continuing to deploy crews on the ground. They will have to work in a very meticulous and tedious fashion on the ground to a lot of structures in those areas and the only way to get those crews up is also with the helicopter,” said Christensen.

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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