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Entries in Colorado Springs (8)

Monday
Jul022012

Many Colorado Wildfire Evacuees Allowed to Return Home

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Some 7,000 residents of the Colorado Springs area were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, but for many, they returned to a pile of rubble left behind by a wildfire that destroyed some 350 homes.  The blaze is now 45 percent contained.

Anne Marie Borrego of the American Red Cross says many evacuees of the Waldo Canyon wildfire had been under an evacuation order for days and had no idea what they would find when they returned home.  Many found they had lost everything.

Colorado officials say the number of evacuees from the wildfire now stands at 3,000, down from more than 30,000 at the peak of the fire.

Colorado Springs city official Steve Cox is warning residents that a burn ban is still in effect as the Fourth of July approaches.  Cox says the temptation to light fireworks may be great for some folks, but another wildfire would be the worst thing that could happen to the community.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun292012

Colorado Wildfire Claims One Life, Destroys Nearly 350 Homes

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- The wildfire raging near Colorado Springs, Colo., has claimed one life and at least 347 homes, officials announced on Thursday.

At a late night news conference, Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey said the remains of one human being were discovered at a residence that was destroyed by flames in the Mountain Shadows subdivision.  Another person from the same address is missing, he said.

Earlier in the day, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach said hundreds of homes had been destroyed by the Waldo Canyon wildfire, and that city officials were working hard to gather information for evacuated residents to determine what neighborhoods were affected by the disaster.

"We are working through the process, which is very painstaking, of assessing every address to make sure that we have absolutely accurate information on each address," Bach said.

More than 1,000 firefighters are working to tame the blaze, which has already torched 16,750 acres.  It is not yet known what caused the fire.

On Friday, President Obama signed a disaster declaration for Colorado.

"The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Colorado and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the High Park and Waldo Canyon Fires beginning on June 9, 2012, and continuing," the White House said in a statement.

Obama will tour the areas hit hardest by the Waldo Canyon wildfire on Friday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun282012

Colorado Wildfires Destroy 'Hundreds' of Homes

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Rows of homes have been wiped out by the Waldo Canyon fire that continues to blanket the mountain town of Colorado Springs with thick smoke, officials said today.

"We now know hundreds of homes have been destroyed," Mayor Steve Bach said today. "We are working through the process, which is very painstaking, of assessing every address to make sure that we have absolutely accurate information on each address."

More than 1,000 firefighters are now battling the blaze, which has reportedly burned 18,500 acres. It remains at 5 percent contained, but fire officials said they expected that to increase today.

"Today is the first day in five or so days that we haven't had a red flag warning," U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jerri Marr told ABC News affiliate 7 News in Denver.

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More than half of the U.S. fleet of C-130s has also dumped retardant on the area.

Although there were no reports of injuries or deaths, 40 people were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Colorado Springs doctors said the air quality was at least 10 times worse than normal.

On Wednesday, severe heat and strong winds had firefighters bracing for worsening fire conditions, but today Incident Commander Rich Harvey said that his team had been able to control the "majority" of the fire despite the weather. More than 32,000 residents have been evacuated from the fast moving blaze that started Saturday. Many had just minutes to grab what they could and get out.

The FBI says it is investigating whether the wildfires in Colorado Springs resulted from criminal activity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun282012

Colorado Wildfire Sends Residents to Shelters

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Pumping thick, black, suffocating smoke into the sky, the wildfire in Colorado Springs, Colo., has left 32,000 people scurrying for shelter and officials struggling to assess the damage.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey said officials had no plans to release the number of homes destroyed, insisting that residents have a right to be told first, in private.

But the blazing inferno has kept officials at a distance. Conditions were unkind to firefighters on Wednesday as 65 mph winds refueled the fires in Waldo Canyon.  Recent aerial photos show entire neighborhoods wiped out.  
As of Thursday morning, residents don't know when they will be able to return home, or even if their home survived.

More than 1,000 firefighters are on the ground and many of the nation's fleet of C-130 planes are dumping retardant from the skies above.  Four of those C-130 planes dropped more than 60,000 gallons of retardant over Waldo Canyon Wednesday.

Satellite images from NASA show even those lucky to escape the flames might not escape the chocking plume of smoke over Colorado's second-largest city and beyond.

In Colorado Springs, doctors say the air quality right now is at least 10 times worse than it was before the fire.  Dr. Timothy Rummel says about 40 people have been to the emergency room because of smoke inhalation.

With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, authorities reminded residents to respect a ban on fireworks.  

President Obama will tour fire-stricken areas of Colorado on Friday and thank firefighters battling some of the worst fires to hit the American West in decades.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

Wildfire Menaces Colorado Springs, 32,000 Flee

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- A western wildfire being fueled by strong winds and scorching temperatures has burned past firefighters' defenses and is menacing the city of Colorado Springs. Firefighters battling the out of control blaze, which has grown to more than 15,000 acres, say they are bracing for worsening conditions.

"We expect further trouble from the weather today," said one official. "Thunderstorms present a unique problem for us. The wind can come in any direction from those ... at any time with pretty strong gusts."

About 1,000 firefighters are battling the Waldo Canyon blaze, which jumped to houses after getting refueled by 65 mph winds. About 32,000 people from Colorado Springs had to flee to safety. The fires are just 5 percent contained.

According to the Defense Department, four C-130s from the Air Force had released nearly 60,000 gallons of retardant over the canyon as of this morning.

Forty homes appeared to go up flames but authorities would not release an updated number. At the U.S. Air Force Academy, 700 cadets and personnel were ordered to leave.

Three shelters have been opened for evacuees and residents were urged to remain inside because of the unhealthy air quality.

There were no reports of injuries or new evacuations. Authorities said they had not yet determined the fire's cause despite reports of arson.

The windy weather and record heat hampered authorities' efforts to fight wildfires in the surrounding states as well. In addition to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana are under red-flag warnings, which warn of extreme fire danger.

One woman was found dead Tuesday after authorities revisited an evacuated area in Utah. Four homes were destroyed in northern Montana and a state of emergency was issued by the governor for four counties.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan202012

Colorado Girl, 9, Escapes from Alleged Kidnapper, Police Arrest Suspect After Manhunt

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- A quick-thinking, 9-year-old girl managed to escape from her alleged kidnapper Friday, and Colorado police nabbed the suspected abductor after a manhunt.

Calysta Cordova was reported missing Thursday afternoon by her mother when she didn't come home from school. Authorities believed she was abducted on her walk home and issued an Amber Alert.

Calysta was found safe Friday at the Circle K convenience store in Colorado Springs, according to ABC News' Denver affiliate KMGH. Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Barbara Miller told KMGH that authorities believe Calysta was in a car with 29-year-old suspect Jose Garcia when the car broke down early Friday morning.

A passerby picked them up and drove them to the Circle K convenience store, police said. There, Calysta ran into the store and asked for a phone, saying she wanted to call her uncle. Instead, she called 911.

"She had two black eyes, bruises on her cheek," witness Efrin Villapondo told KMGH. "She was in bad shape. The bruise on her face was enormous."

When Garcia entered the store, Calysta defiantly refused to go anywhere with him, yelling, "I'm not going anywhere with you. I'm waiting for my mom," according to police

Before police could arrive, Garcia took off on foot. Calysta was transported to Memorial Hospital to be treated for her injuries.

"I don't know if you say a young child like that is OK during an experience like this but they are working with her right now," Miller said.

Garcia was found at a bus stop in downtown Colorado Springs, about 7.5 miles south of the convenience store where they had been dropped off.

KMGH was on-scene when Calysta's mother Stephanie Cordova discovered her daughter had been found safe. As the family shrieked and cried with joy, Cordova took a moment to thank all the family's supporters.

"Thank God. Thank you for everybody who watched, who kept an eye out for my daughter and brought her home," Cordova said, crying. "Thank you for your kindness, for putting yourselves in our shoes and bringing my daughter home."

Copyright 2012 ABC News

Tuesday
Aug092011

Dougherty Trio Allegedly Spotted in Colorado Springs

Ryan Dougherty, 21, left, sister Lee Grace E. Dougherty, 29, and half-brother Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, have been on the lam since Aug. 2 when they allegedly shot at a Florida police officer attempting to pull over their white Subaru Impreza for speeding. Federal Bureau of Investigation(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Authorities in Colorado Springs say they received a tip the Dougherty siblings -- two brothers and their sister connected to a crime spree in Florida last week -- were spotted in the area of Woodmen and I-25 Tuesday afternoon around 1:30 p.m.

The suspects are considered to be armed and dangerous.

Investigators have yet to confirm the identity of the trio said to have been spotted in the woods, but police say the individuals were last seen driving a small white vehicle with Texas license plates LCS 909. The plates have been reported stolen out of Texas, according to police.

Ryan Dougherty, 21, sister Lee Grace E. Dougherty, 29, and half-brother Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, have been on the run since Aug. 2 when they allegedly shot at a Florida police officer attempting to pull over their white Subaru Impreza for speeding. A few hours later, they allegedly robbed a bank in Georgia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec052010

More Underage Victims in Youth Pastor Case?

Photo Courtesy - KRDO-TV Colorado Springs/ Facebook(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Colorado Springs Police investigating the case of a 21-year-old pastor charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl are worried there might be other victims. Justin Amoroso, who worked as a youth pastor before the scandal broke, was arrested on Wednesday.

The arrest affidavit says Amoroso met with the girl at church last August, and the two allegedly had sex as many as 15 times.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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