Aug 2, 2012 9:54 PM by Jacqui Heinrich

Waldo fire floods take Fountain man's property

In the wake of the Waldo Canyon fire, one man's property is being swept away by Fountain Creek's rushing floodwaters.

"From here to that rusted pipe down there, that used to be my property line," David Trujillo says, motioning toward a fifty foot cliff in what used to be his back yard. About thirty feet of lawn have already been swept downstream, and his house looms in striking distance.

Trujillo says he's asked for help and was told there's no stopping it. "Cannot change the course of the river they said, because that's a wildlife preserve. But I'm a part of this life here too and it's being sucked away."

He's tried to repair the damage before it worsens, but without permits for soil testing and land fill work he's stuck in limbo. "I can't afford that," he says tearfully. "It's just a constant battle."

As his property is washed downstream, he no longer allows his kids or grandchildren to play in the area, fearing for their safety. Despite suffering from polio, he works to maintain what's left. "I even put an ad on Craigslist- I'll take a fine. Give me all the fill dirt you've got, please, anybody!"

These days, Trujillo is overcome with anxiety every time the forecast predicts rain. "It's just a roar and I come back here with a flashlight and I see my fence hanging, my yard being sucked down. The fear in my heart's going tick-tick-tick, what's next?"

He's hoping for help, saying he feels abandoned since nobody seems to offer a solution. "It's washed out my dreams, my hopes are washing away. What more can I do except pray to God?"

News 5 contacted El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey; he says the Army Corps of Engineering can give permission to do erosion control, but it's up to the homeowner to pay for the work. Hisey recommends anybody living near a creek buy flood insurance.



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