FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Several rescued families in Larimer County counted their blessings on Wednesday after being flown out of harm’s way after being stranded following Colorado’s historic flooding.
“You would have thought you were looking at ocean waves and I was petrified,” said evacuee Jessica Hill, describing the flooding near her Storm Mountain home.
Hill brought her two children to the Timber Lake Rescue Center in Fort Collins Wednesday after National Guard rescuers airlifted them from her Storm Mountain home.
Some of her neighbors are among the hundreds who are refusing to leave, despite water that has risen to 15 feet in some areas.
“Rural mountain people that feel as though their home is where they belong and they don’t want to be anywhere else other than their home,” said Hill.
Only about a dozen people were rescued on Wednesday, and Larimer County officials are warning that those who are in stranded areas and refuse to leave may be making a decision that winds up having fatal consequences.
“We continue to get a lot of refusals, which is a concern,” Larimer County Sheriff’s spokesman Nick Christensen said. “We want to make sure folks know if they refuse we may not be able to deploy helicopters again.”
Chris Eikenberg lost her home to a fire four months ago. Now flood waters have destroyed her temporary home.
“I’ve pooled what little money I have so I’ve got gas to get us to a warm, safe place,” she said from the Timber Lake center.
Eikenberg said many of her neighbors refused to leave their homes because of concerns about their livestock, but with the major transportation infrastructure challenges in the mountain areas of the county, Eikenberg says the time for her friends to leave is now.
“I think that they are foolish. Winter is coming. The first snow is probably be first week of October. What are they going to do? They’re going to put other people in jeopardy by staying up there? I think it’s ridiculous,” she said.
Officials with the sheriff’s office told CBS4 more rescues will take place Thursday, and they are hoping some of the people who previously refused to leave their homes will change their mind and get on the National Guard helicopters. They want to stress those folks are running out of time.
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.