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Crews Demolish Homes In Big Thompson Canyon

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DRAKE, Colo. (CBS4)- Crews are starting to tear down some homes inside the Big Thompson Canyon nearly eight months after devastating flooding damaged hundreds of homes and killed two people.

The work is part of Larimer County’s efforts to remove debris before any new flooding occurred.

Demolition crews tackled a home located near Highway 34 along River Fork Road in Drake and even with the homeowner’s blessing, it was a sad day for all those involved.

A home in Drake is demolished after it was damaged in last fall's flooding (credit: CBS)

A home in Drake is demolished after it was damaged in last fall’s flooding (credit: CBS)

“Very, very sorry for her, a lifetime of work– gone,” said neighbor Leroy Rady.

Leroy and his wife Margie spent the past 15 years living next door to the home that crews tore down.

During the flood the river washed away part of the home. As crews started their demolition on what remained, the homeowner chose not to watch.

Inspectors ruled the structure was too unsafe to stay and too damaged to rebuild.

“It’s just sad to see your neighborhood go. We watched the house next to her float away… you cry,” said Leroy.

Crews are working on an impending deadline as rain continues to fall and snow is forecast to move along the Front Range this weekend.

“We needed to get this one down before rainfall, spring runoff or any further damage happens,” said Larimer County Chief Building Official Eric Fried.

Larimer County has slated six homes for demolition after considering them potentially new hazards.

Crews were not able to cross off the first home on the list because the rushing water of the Big Thompson River was too high and fast, making it too dangerous to take down.

For those who are able to stay, the tear downs are difficult.

“It’s so different, it doesn’t feel like home. We know it’s our home but it doesn’t feel like it,” said Leroy.

Larimer County continues with its demolition projects next week in Glen Haven. There are still four more homes on the list to be torn down.

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