Black Forest Fire evacuee said fire stopped right at his driveway

Another evacuee said firefighters fed her fish

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - A Black Forest Fire evacuee who watched his neighbor's house burn and thought his was gone, too, has learned some good news.

While Eric Scott lost his barn, his workshop, all of his tools and the '65 Mustang he was restoring, his house was untouched by Colorado's most destructive wildfire.

"It’s almost like somebody put a cup right over our house," Scott told 7NEWS. "The fire burned right up to the driveway."

The fire burned the siding on Scott's SUV and embers burned the paint on the top of the vehicle, but the fire and embers did not touch his home.

"It’s a miracle," Scott said.

Scott lives on Gun Club Trail and said most of the neighborhood is gone.

"It looked like somebody dropped an incendiary bomb on the whole place," Scott said. "I think on the mile of road that makes up Gun Club Trail, there were only three homes that survived."

Firefighters told Scott his home survived because of the mitigation work he had done.

"The firefighters said they didn’t have time to protect my house, they said because I had done mitigation the proper way, my house was safe," Scott explained.

Scott was at work,  watching coverage of the Royal Gorge Fire on June 11, when he first heard about the fire in the Black Forest area. He went home, gave instructions to his children and quickly evacuated with his family and a few treasured belongings.

"We didn't have a lot of time, the fire was absolutely roaring through the area," he said.

Scott said he was standing about 50 feet from the flames when his neighbor's yard caught fire.

"The fire was huge, unbelievably powerful," Scott said. "We snuck out of there at the last second, there were embers flying across the car. It was hard to decide what to take and what not to take. I left the pinewood derby cars from when I was a kid. But I grabbed my son’s because those were more important to me than my old stuff."

Scott said he grabbed some important papers, heirlooms, his grandfather’s old clock, and his mom and dad’s family photograph, a very important item since one of his sisters pictured in that photograph has since died from breast cancer.

He believes his little sister's spirit was sitting on his roof as the fire came and said, "I don't think so" and blew the fire away.

As Scott walked around his property after the fire, he said even if you look at places where it’s green on his photos, there are little black spots everywhere where embers probably started little fires.

In the middle of the all blackened earth, trees and rubble, Scott found one spot of color -- a bright, red rose that had bloomed on a bush Scott bought for his mother for Mother's Day.

 

-- Firefighters Save Home, Fed Fish --

 

Residents have already begun to clean and rebuild.

The common sentiment is gratitude to the firefighters who saves so many homes.

Debbie Stalnaker found a note on her back porch from firefighters who protected her home.  She has two Koi ponds in the back.

The notes read, "Hello, I just wanted to let you know we fed your fish and turned the big pond water on. Hope all is well, BLM Engine 1419, Craig, Colorado."  And then on 6/18, "Fish fed. Rocky Mountain FD, Boulder, CO."

"They are, you know, fish. But, I can't believe that they would go to that," said Stalnaker. "Those guys decided that our home was savable and they saved it."

Some of Stalnaker's neighbors on East Coachman Drive weren't as fortunate, even though firefighters tried to save their homes, too.

"We have friends that have lost everything. And they're going to rebuild and we will help them rebuild," Stalnaker said. "Not a single one died."

As for the note about the fish, Stalnaker said she's going to frame it.