RUSTIC, Colo. (CBS) – It roared out of the evening on Tuesday, with no way to know it was coming. The Cameron Peak Fire was causing new major trouble many months after the wildfire was finally extinguished.
“I heard the noise of the trees breaking and the rocks rolling and all this stuff,” said Dan Bond.
His family first bought the land near the intersection of Black Hollow Creek and the Cache la Poudre River in 1894. In the 1970s, they subdivided it and homes sprung up.
Five homes were washed away in the flash flood in only moments. Heavy rain in the Cameron Peak burn scar that starts only 100 yards from the intersection of the two waterways created mudslides from the south and west.
Bond was on his deck when it started to rain. He went inside.
“All of a sudden the power flinched and then I heard a pop of the transformer and the power went out. I got up and looked around and the power poles were just waving back and forth … and I looked down and there was mud flowing by my door taking everything in its path.”
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Downriver in Rustic, Jade Wilber took out a phone and started recording what was going by.
“A cabinet. A water heater,” she recited.
A vehicle ended up getting swept onto a small island full of debris in the Poudre. Five houses were pulled in from the area many call Black Hollow. In one were four adults from one family, two men and two women. Crews recovered the body of a woman. Two men and a woman are still missing, related the Larimer County Sheriff. Dan knew they were in the home that was swept away.
“About 30 minutes before it happened, I called him on the phone to talk about something so I knew he was home,” Dan said of the family patriarch, who lived there. The home is simply gone.
“No longer there,” Phyllis Haffner said as she looked at the wreckage. “We survived the fire just barely last year, now we’re dealing with this.”
First the wildfire, now the gully washers that locals describe are doing just that and more with the burned soil above unable to hold moisture and vegetation that held back the mud gone.
“There was no indication this would happen,” said Bond. “I never would have believed it would have happened.”
Highway 14 is open again for traffic, but there are delays in areas where cranes are working to remove debris. The river remains closed.
“We will continue to assess the conditions of the river to evaluate the necessity of the closure order and will open it as soon as it is safe to do so,” said the sheriff in a statement.