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A neighborhood remembers the Waldo Canyon Fire

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Jun 22 2014 11:53:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 22 2014 11:54:01 PM CDT

Sunday marked the eve of the second anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Sunday marked the eve of the second anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

The Waldo Canyon Fire sparked on June 23, 2012.  It took two lives and destroyed more than 300 homes. It's Colorado's most expensive wildfire on record with $350 million in claims filed.

The wildfire devastated the Mountain Shadows community in western Colorado Springs. At Parkside at Mountain Shadows subdivision, 141 of 178 homes were destroyed in the flames.

For two years, residents have worked diligently to restore the neighborhood.  There are still vacant lots and empty homes, but many people have moved back in.

Three neighbors living on one cal de sac in the subdivision lost everything in the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Mike Mortensen said the rebuilding process was difficult, but knew he couldn't live anywhere else.

"Great neighbors and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It was worth the pain of going through the building process and living in an apartment. All the things that go along with that. But it's good to be back," said Mortensen.

He said his new home is beautiful and he is happy to be finished with landscaping.  He found comfort in the support from his community.

"It (Waldo Canyon Fire) brought us all closer as a community. A lot of neighbors I didn't know before the fire and now we are really close.

Carole Duddles lives next to Mortensen.  She agrees that strength in this community has helped her family heal after loosing everything in the fire.

"There is a lot of support with neighbors, we have really appreciated that because everyone has gone through it together, we really appreciate that," said Duddles.

It took her family almost one and a half years to moved back into the neighborhood. Her family spent months perfecting the plan for her new home. While she is sad about things she lost in the fire, she is thrilled about their new home.

"Being able to come back to a beautiful new home was awesome," said Duddles.

Anna Rottenborn, 12, lives with her family next door to the Duddles and the Mortensen.

She was apprehensive about what was in store for her family after their home was lost in the flames.  She still thinks about her old home.

"I know that seems kind of silly but I miss the grass, I miss the full grown trees, that is one of the things I most miss," said Rottenborn.

She said her new home is "a lot more beautiful and spacious and awesome" than the one she left behind.

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