Waldo Canyon Fire claims one life
The remains of one person has been found in a burned home in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood and another person has been reported missing from the same home.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey announced Thursday night that the remains had been discovered at a home at 2910 Rossmere Drive. Several others in the subdivision are still unaccounted for. Carrey put the number of people they are still trying to contact at less than 10.
Approximately 346 homes have been destroyed as a result of the Waldo Canyon Fire that raced through the neighborhood on Tuesday.
During the Friday morning press conference El Paso County Commissioner Chair Amy Lathan said a disaster recovery center will open at 9 a.m. Saturday for residents to file insurance claims, receive grief counseling and any other needs. The center will bring together the resources from other governmental agencies, including the city of Colorado Springs, and nonprofit groups. It will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be located in the former EPC Department of Human Services building at 105 North Spruce Street.
“It is our goal at the county to be available for absolutely everything that anyone needs,” Lathan said.
During the press conference Jerri Mar, forest supervisor of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron Comanche Grasslands, said the weather cooperated Thursday and they are making great strides. The fire is now reported at 15 percent containment.
“We are working really hard to put this fire out,” Mar said.
Rich Harvey, fire incident commander, said they have a perimeter line along Colo. 24 and he is confident it will hold.
“Our focus for today is to hold what we got, improve the lines we have in place, use aerial assets necessary to support the troops on the ground and bring in the equipment where we can to further enhance our ability to put muscle down on the ground in front of this fire and keep it in control,” Harvey added.
Lt. Jeff Kramer had no news to report on the investigative efforts and said at this time the cause is still undetermined. In a press release sent out Thursday night the EPC Sheriff’s Office said Undersheriff Paula Presley granted an interview with ABC News and her comments were taken out of context. ABC News reported that officials believe the fire started by arson.
However Presley was speaking hypothetically when she told ABC News that if indeed the fire was an act of arson and that the suspect’s intent was to burn the forest and set fire to Colorado Springs then it would be considered an act of terrorism. She reminded the reporter that they do not yet know if the fire was intentional or accidental.
Meanwhile many residents have been allowed to return back to their homes. Those who live in the southeast area of Rockrimmon including the Golden Hills and Tammaron subdivisions, Pine Cliff, Kissing Camels which is east of 30th Street from Gateway Road to Garden of the Gods Road, Holland Park, Pleasant Valley and the apartment complex located at Garden of the Gods Road to 30th Street.
Additionally United States Air Force Academy officials have lifted the mandatory evacuation order for the Pine Valley and Douglas Valley housing areas allowing residents back in at 5 a.m. Friday morning.
All other evacuation orders remain in place. For updated information on evacuations visit www.springs.gov.