Watch CBS News

'It's Our Whole Life': Wildfire Evacuees Struggle With Heartache and Loss

WINTER PARK, Colo. (CBS4) -- There have been 4,032 evacuations in Grand County as a result of the East Troublesome Fire. With no official count of structures lost, many homeowners have been left to guess, whether their home is still standing.

"The maps that I've seen, the fire line went right through our house," said Don Lesher.

Don and his wife, Sherry, were evacuated from their home in Grand Lake on Wednesday; while they haven't heard officially, they don't believe it's still standing.

"It's home, it's home, it's, it's everything it's our whole life," cried Sherry.

Sherry's father built the home and says it's where his ashes are scattered.

"I can't imagine living anywhere else," she said.

The couple had little time to pack on Wednesday. Along with their granddaughter, they packed a few clothes and grabbed their three dogs.

"When we got to Granby, the only thing I wanted to was pull over and catch my breath, so I spent the night in the City Market parking lot," Don said, breaking down into tears.

Along with other evacuees, Don and Sherry were finally settled at the Vintage Inn, in Winter Park.

Vintage Inn winter park east troublesome fire evacuees
Vintage Inn (credit: CBS)

Some homeowners, desperate to check on the status of their homes and pets left behind, headed to the roadblock -- where they were turned away.

road block evacuation east troublesome fire
(credit: CBS)

"We are desperate to get to our cats," said Sharron Illsley.

Sharron and her husband own a home in Columbine and were not home when evacuations began. They have six cats at home they haven't checked on since Wednesday.

"They're going to die! No food, no water, no heat?"

She was informed Friday night that animal control plans to go to the home Saturday to rescue her pets.

For the Lesher family, the situation has been devastating but they say the community support is keeping them strong.

"We will rise again," said Shelly.

(credit: CBS)

Don chimed in, "Yep! They don't call it Grand County for nothin'!"

Those evacuated to the Vintage Inn without a home to return to, have been allowed to stay until they can find permanent shelter.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.