EVANS, Colo. (CBS4) – Five months after Colorado’s devastating flooding last September, an Evans neighborhood is still in shambles and nobody wants to be responsible for the cleanup.
The damage isn’t just unpleasant to look at, it’s also a safety issue.
The Bella Vista and Eastwood Village mobile home communities have remained untouched in the five months they’ve been swamped. The city tried to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to foot the cleanup bill but the city was rejected. The state health department says the clock is ticking.
Juan and Erma Elizalde live mere feet from toxic waste near their Evans home.
“It’s kind of nasty. We try not to come back here too much,” Juan Elizalde said.
“I try not to breathe in because I can feel all that smell in my throat,” Erma Elizalde said.
Mold and garbage have engulfed the homes.
“Everything that was in these homes, in the refrigerators, in the freezers, hazardous household materials, all of that stuff is still there,” Evan City Manager Aden Hogan said.
There’s no clean up in sight. Evans Mayor Lyle Achziger says the city’s call for state and federal aid has fallen on deaf ears.
“Now we’ve hit a brick wall,” Achziger said.
The Elizaldes worked for months to restore their home which is located next door to the mobile homes. They’re worried when warmer weather hits more problems will emerge.
“They need to go away before summer gets here, because we get 90-, 95-degree weather,” Erma Elizalde said. “There’s going to be a big stench.”
The health department has warned of rodent and disease problems if the mess isn’t cleaned up. Even so, FEMA says Evans “doesn’t meet the criteria for federal assistance.”
“If this doesn’t meet the criteria of a public health and safety hazard, I don’t know what does,” Achziger said.
As the clock ticks towards a catastrophic spring in Evans, Erma Elizalde says she and her neighbors are tired of excuses.
“It’s got to get done,” she said. “They can’t leave it like that.”
CBS4 couldn’t reach the builder Tuesday night.
About 1,000 people were displaced. The governor’s office will have representatives visit next week to assess the situation.
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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