BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – John Pellouchoud says neither floods nor fire will force him out of Lefthand Canyon.
The Boulder County resident has been living in the canyon for 30 years. On Thursday morning he was in California helping a friend whose home had flooded when his own home caught fire.
“I raised my children here. They were born here in this house,” he told CBS4 on Friday after flying back to Colorado, getting a ride from the airport from his insurance agent and surveying the extreme damage caused by the flames.
The house was one of thousands that was damaged in the devastating floods of 2013. The veteran firefighter and search-and-rescue worker barely escaped death when a 20-foot wall of mud, rocks, water and debris rushed down Lefthand Canyon.
“They always said a journey of a million miles starts with the first step. And I kept on telling myself that for every spoonful of mud that came out of the house,” said Pellouchoud, remembering the extensive cleanup after the floods.
Memories are all he has left of the house now.
“My misfortune here didn’t influence the canyon. It didn’t hurt any of my neighbors,” he said.
Pellouchoud, who recently battled cancer, says despite his bad luck he’s determined to continue living here.
“You just keep going. You put one foot in front of the other and say ‘Okay, I’ll go forward from here,'” he said. “This is where I choose to make my stand. It’s a hell of a stand.”
So far there’s no word on what caused the fire.