Report: Up to 125 Evacuated after Mudslides Near Mountain Town

July 24, 2007

Mudslides damaged many homes and forced the evacuation of at least 125 people from the area around Alpine in Chaffee County, Colo., County Fire Chief Jim Wingert said.

“It’s going to take a lot of work to bring Alpine back to what it once was,” Wingert told KCNC-TV in Denver. County commissioners met Sunday to see what they could do to help. A shelter was set up in the gym of Buena Vista High School, about 10 miles to the east.

At least 31 homes were damaged on County Roads 162 and 292, said Page Croix, a dispatcher for the Chaffee County sheriff. “It was a deluge,” she said. “Mostly cars are totally buried,” she told The Denver Post.

The Alpine area, above 9,500 feet, is rugged and steep.

“The major concern right now is drinking water,” said Jennifer Mariano, Pikes Peak Emergency Coordinator. It was feared the heavy deluge had contaminated wells.

A mudslide Sunday night in Lake County closed Colorado 82 over Independence Pass, the Colorado Department of Transportation said. There were no reports of injuries or structures damaged, and there was no immediate estimate of when the mountain highway would reopen.

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