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Flood Ruins In Evans Becoming A Public Safety Hazard

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EVANS, Colo. (CBS4) – An Evans community destroyed by floods last year is becoming a potential health risk as the ruins have still not been cleaned up.

Floods in September ruined the Bella Vista and Eastwood Village mobile home communities, destroying nearly 1,000 people’s homes.

The communities have been fenced off as many health hazards are developing within the debris, including mold, broken glass and rodent infestation.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency told city leaders that they don’t qualify for debris removal money.

Families in Evans are still rebuilding but after more than three months. Resident Randy Rouse said no one has touched the destroyed buildings.

“Somebody needs to do something and I know FEMA was in here and I can’t understand why they didn’t at least put a foot forward and make something start,” said Rouse.

Evans Mayor Lyle Achziger said the property owners don’t have the money to pay the $1 million cleanup bill and neither does the city.

“Every day that goes by spring gets closer, and when the warm weather gets here, that’s when we’re going to see the issues arise,” said Achziger.

He warns that doing nothing by spring could bring on a second disaster.

“The odor issue, the rodent issue and other diseases that may potentially, and I think, realistically exist,” said Achziger.

The city appealed to Gov. John Hickenlooper and state recovery officials for help and they are hoping for a solution in next 60 days.

“The values aren’t going to go up. People are going to remember what happened and it’s going to make it tough to live down here,” said Rouse.

In the meantime, the communities continue to sit in ruins.

It’s very frustrating and I know it’s frustrating for the people who used to live in those trailers,” said Rouse.

The city is currently in the process of appealing FEMA’s denial of debris removal money.

Hickenlooper said he’ll send staff to meet with city leaders over next two weeks but hasn’t yet committed any money for clean up.

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