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Colorado scene: From aerial photos, a ray of hope amid wildfires

June 28, 2012|By Jenny Deam
  • An aerial photograph shows how some homes were destroyed, and others spared, by wildfires in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood of Colorado Springs, Colo.
An aerial photograph shows how some homes were destroyed, and others spared,… (RJ Sangosti / Denver Post…)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- As Colorado’s wildfires continued to burn unabated, Penny Carroll, frantic for any scrap of information about the fate of her home, pored over an aerial shot on the Internet of her Colorado Springs neighborhood.

Then she saw an intact roof – her roof. Or at least she’s pretty sure it is.

“I have a roof. I’m going with that. Oh, thank God,” she said Thursday, allowing joy to enter her voice for the first time since she fled her home two days earlier.

Among the tens of thousands of displaced homeowners in Colorado Springs, nerves were beginning to fray Thursday as they waited for officials to tell them whether their houses survived. Hundreds have been reported lost.

“It’s very frustrating. The city has a plan, and I know they’re trying to do the right thing and be compassionate, but it’s taking a long time,” Carroll said in an interview.

She and other evacuated friends gathered in Monument, Colo., miles from their charred neighborhood of Mountain Shadows, living off rumors, TV images and newspaper photos. “I just need to know, one way or another," she said. "We are all so desperate for any information. You can’t really be mad at the city, but right now we feel stuck.”

On Tuesday, she had stood on her back deck and watched trees explode into flames as the fire raced over the ridge toward her house. “In that instant I knew my house was gone,” she said, and fled with her two dogs to Monument.

For the past two days she had been numb. Now she has hope.

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nation@latimes.com

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