Larimer County home built in 1906 survives flood, property destroyed

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - Homeowners across Larimer County are dealing with the realization they will have to start over after the devastating flood.

The hardest hit areas are the neighborhoods on U.S. 34 along the Big Thompson River.

Jack Berquist owns property just one mile east of the Dam Store. His home was built in 1906. On the property sat two sheds, the home’s original outhouse and the home. His home is still standing but mud covers his entire property.

"We've got 10 acres here and it's just solid trees and sand and huge boulders that were never here," Berquist said. "Everything’s changed."

Berquist doesn’t currently live on the property but rents it to his friend Bryson Swank. Swank was on his way to work Thursday when he got the call about the flooding. By the time he returned home, it was 7 a.m. and the Big Thompson was rising quickly.

Four days later as the two took 7NEWS back to the property, the damage was extensive.

"The first thing we noticed was the house was still standing, the green roof. That was good, but then we saw the damage," Swank said.

Video shows a large telephone pole lying across the front of the property, trees are uprooted and the inside of the home is covered in mud. Even more devastating, U.S. 34 alongside the property and the driveway into the home are completely gone.

"The next morning, to come back and see the damage, was just epic," Berquist said. "Who would have thought it was going to be this much with the road gone."

Fortunately, Swank was able to remove all his sentimental items before the floods overtook the property, including a guitar that belonged to his dad.

"My mom gave that to him when they were married, so that was one of the important things to get out for me," Swank said.

The two are members of the Wyoming Air National Guard and have witnessed destruction from forest fires, but nothing could prepare them for all the devastation to their own property.

"We both spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan, years fighting forest fires. It’s just interesting to be on the receiving end as opposed to the helping end," Berquist said.

"The emotional stress is much different when it’s you that needs the help, not giving the help," Swank said.

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