COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A couple whose home burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire last year wants to offer hope to the hundreds who similarly lost their homes in this month’s Black Forest Fire.
Barry and Jean Timmons said they and their neighbors “had no idea” there might be a wildfire that could tear through their area in northwest Colorado Springs. The Waldo Canyon Fire wound up destroying 141 homes in the neighborhood in June 2012.
Barry remembers standing on his property almost a year ago, certain that the blaze wouldn’t reach his house. It did, and there was nothing left but ashes when they returned when the evacuations were lifted.
Now he stands on the same spot and looks up at the slope the fire tore through and sees nothing but blackened trees.
“There’s nothing left to burn anymore,” he said.
Initially the Timmons never wanted to come back.
“We wanted to move as far away from the mountains as possible,” Jean told CBS4.
But they are back, and they are in a rebuilt, new home.
“I think we started realizing we really loved our community,” Jean said.
What made their decision to rebuild, they say, is support from their insurance company combined with their own resilience.
“I think you have to make a decision right at the beginning: ‘Are you going to let this ruin your life or are you going to make the decision move on?’ ” Jean said.
State Farm Insurance honored the Timmons’ policy but it was the Timmons’ positive attitude that served as the foundation.
“You’re going to have to get your dwelling replaced — your home itself. You’re going to have to get the contents replaced in the house. And then you’ve got additional living expenses,” Barry said.
The neighborhood is now filled on any day of the week with contractors and work crews. More than a third of the homes that were destroyed have been replaced so far.
Being back, for Jean, is a little bit like being in “the Twlight Zone.”
“You’re in the same piece of property but you look out the window and everything is different,” she said.