LAKE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Building inspectors are trying to figure out if a family in Lake City will be able to move back into their mountain home. It was hit with a wall of snow and debris forcing the family to leave.

Schyler Denham and his wife were fast asleep last week when the slide from the cliffs above came crashing down, smashing in a wall and covering the back of the house with 12 feet of snow.

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The destructive avalanche is just one of 16 reported natural slides to come down in the last week in remote Hinsdale County, 45 miles SW of Gunnison.

The danger remains, and evacuations are in place for dozens of people living in and around Lake City.

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“The driveway was completely filled in itself up against the house 12 feet of snow,” Denham told CBS4 as he surveyed the damage to his home Tuesday.

Despite what has happened to his family, he actually considers himself lucky.

“We are quite fortunate it is a small as it is. We got a another family just south of town… their entire house was wiped out,” Denham added.

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In that slide, two girls were trapped inside. Their father, the county’s sheriff, was able to get inside and with the help of other first responders, dig the girls out. They survived with some facial lacerations.

Now the community is coming together to help the evacuees.

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“So far we have had 25 or so people offer up their homes here for the sheriff and his family to stay as long as they need.”

Tuesday, Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasters toured the local designated disaster area to check for more potential slide risks. They also escorted the sheriff and his family back to see the destruction that was once their home for the first time since the avalanche hit them last week.

Matt Kroschel


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