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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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17 July 2012

Up close and personal

Yesterday I finally had an up close and personal look at the homes in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood that were destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire. My friend Jenn, who lives in Denver but used to live here, drove to Colorado Springs to view the devastation with me. It was exceedingly grim, and it brought tears to my eyes. A very sobering experience. We saw many homes that were reduced to rubble and ashes. Many other homes were completely intact with their families moved back in, which was very strange-looking when juxtaposed against the empty burnt-out shells of their neighbors. I saw one house whose attached deck was completely charred, and yet the rest of the structure was unharmed (yay firefighters!).

As I understand it, the inferno that overtook this neighborhood was of a phenomenon and magnitude so rare, described as a "tornado of flames", that firefighters were helpless to fight it and were in fact forced to retreat for a time before taking to the streets and battling it one house at a time.  There is an excellent article about it HERE; please read it to get a real understanding of the heroics of these men and women that day.  What they were up against was unthinkable.

I took pictures of a few burned homes. The one in the photo above was on a corner lot, so I was able to walk around and get pictures of it from a few angles. Another one diagonally across the street from it was also completely destroyed, yet most of the other houses in that particular neighborhood were saved. As I was taking these pictures, a little girl was cheerfully bouncing on her pogo stick in the street right in front of a blackened wasteland while her parents watched her from their perfectly normal, intact home across the street. Boing, boing, boing. Surreal.

It's going to be a while before things are back to normal in Mountain Shadows.

A closer view.

Here it is from the corner.  Strange how the plants, trees and grass are just fine, but the house is gone.

Here's a frontal view from standing in the driveway.  The entire length of the gutter is lying in the foreground.  Just below and to the right of center, you can see the kitchen stove with the microwave sitting on top of it.  The microwave must have been attached to a cabinet above the stove, and when the cabinets and walls burned it fell directly down onto the stove.  I can see it happening in my mind's eye.  And look at the house only a few feet beyond this one. It's untouched.

The home diagonally across the street.  Steps leading to nowhere. The only thing left is the retaining wall and a bit of foundation. The foothills beyond it are completely blackened.

This house was on a different street. It's completely obliterated except for the swingset, which is untouched. I can't imagine evacuating and then coming home to this. The thought of it is heartbreaking.


Randy said...

Very sad indeed.

Jacqi Stevens said...

Such stark contrasts. Scenes like these must be very hard to contemplate for those who went through the ordeal.