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Long-Time Homeowner Describes Fear, Anger As Cameron Peak Fire Destroys Homes

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) - The Cameron Peak Fire is claiming homes, and in one area, word is getting around about who lost a home or cabin. The Monument Gulch area has been hit hard.

Bob Todd is feeling it. His family has five properties totaling more than 40 acres with two homes. He has life long memories of a wonderful place.

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(credit: Bob Todd)

"Since I was a little boy," said Todd. "We had little motorcycles we rode around, we hunted in that area… spent our weekends there, birthdays, anniversaries."

Todd now heads a neighborhood association for about two dozen homes and cottages there. Friday night, he was getting email after email from people who were being told by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office that their properties were gone.

"Well I know mine is gone," Todd told us. The home his parents built in the 60s is now owned by his brother. Friday evening, there was still no word about it.

Todd and his brother were the last to get out of the area on Sunday after going up for the weekend.

"About midnight Saturday night I got rousted by the sheriff, telling me I should leave."

But they hung on into Sunday. The fire was still miles out, but clearly moving toward them and the smoke was heavy.

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CBS4's Alan Gionet interviews Bob Todd. (credit: CBS)

"It sounded kind of like a freight train coming."

The Cameron Peak Fire is now the worst in Larimer County history. It has consumed 102,596 acres. Much of the growth occurred over Labor Day weekend when it nearly quadrupled in size.

It remained at only 4% containment late Friday. The figure is likely to go up because snow has helped hold it down as firefighters work to draw a line around it.

However, now the weather is drying out and warming up again renewing fears.

"The fuels will dry out again, soil's going to dry out, humidity levels are going to go down," warned the Forest Service's Paul Bruggink. "If we get wind on top of that, that's something we want to watch."

Todd complained he did not see firefighters working to protect Monument Gulch late Saturday or Sunday before he left.

"I don't know why they weren't in there on Sunday doing something, sprinklers, whatever."

CAMERON PEAK FIRE flames from the helicopter
Cameron Peak Fire (credit: CBS)

The Forest Service did have firefighters in the area at at least one point prepping it with mitigation work. Bruggink said he could not be sure where crews were at a given time, without more information on time and location, to address Todd's concerns.

The sheriff's office has declined to release the number of homes lost, saying they are doing an assessment and will not release a number until homeowners are told. But there are losses in Monument Gulch and Poudre Canyon.

Todd kept getting emails from people in the Monument Gulch neighborhood telling him they had lost their homes or cottages. He counted 19 late Friday night. Then he got one more awful bit of information. His brother's house – the one his parents built - was gone too.

That made 20.

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