Matt was pulling the cars closer to the house when he heard a blood-curdling scream from across the street. At that moment a wall of black, muddy water from Gold Run Creek came straight for the house, scooping up everything in its path. First, one utility pole went down, and then another and another. The churning wave swept up the neighbor's cars, slamming them into the bridge and continued down the canyon, taking out all the trees in the front of the property. Seconds later, the river surged once again and tore loose the neighbor's 500 pound propane tank and forced it over the debris of cars hurtling it into the backyard. You could see the top of the tank had been ripped off and gas was spewing out. It seemed to have taken on a life of its own. Through the dim white gas they could see three more propane tanks spewing down the road, filling the valley with a noxious cloud. It was time to leave!
"Leslie, grab your shoes!" Matt shouted as the gas started to fill the house." Matt's next thought was for his beloved golden retrievers. "Pancho! Lupe!" he hollered. The dogs ran out the back door and scrambled up the steep, muddy slope behind the house." Close behind came Matt and Leslie, still in her pajamas and slippers. The cats were nowhere to be found. Matt gave Leslie a light jacket he had grabbed. It was raining in torrents. They looked back in disbelief at their beloved house which they had purchased just three months before. Countless hours and thousands of dollars had been put into the restoration of the old house.
They made their way up the hill, Matt dragging Leslie who was in a brace from a knee injured just a few days before. At first, they headed straight for the top to get away from the propane gas. From there it was a two mile hike to the nearest house in Sunshine Canyon. The road was filled with gushing water. The rain got worse. Wet and bedraggled, they arrived on the doorstep of their nearest neighbor and were taken in.
Since then it has been an emotional roller-coaster. The house remains inacessible and uninhabitable with the looming possibility of it being condemned. Today the the future is still murky, but becoming clearer. The house is sagging on one corner and needs major foundational work. The force of the water breached the back of the house filling it with mud. All utilities, including water, propane, sewer, and electricity, are gone. The yard is no more. The recently re-built bridge is now suspended alone over the former creek bed, a twenty foot gap on each end. Leslie's car ended up under the neighbor's house two hundred yards downstream, and Matt's car was pushed up against the house covered in mud and debris.
Unfortunately, their insurance does not cover any of the losses. Matt and Leslie are seeking donations to renew their dream in this 133 year old house which is tied historically to the little Church of the Pines next door, both of which were built by Salina, Colorado's first resident, Henry Meyring. This beautiful home has survived many natural disasters, including the fire of 2010. Any help for Matt and Leslie to restore their future in this historic home would be greatly appreciated.
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