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Earlier this year, in 5280 Home, we profiled a beautifully restored log cabin in the mountain town of Salina—just five miles west of Boulder in Four Mile Canyon. As we reported in the story, the circa-1890 mining cabin had narrowly escaped damage during the Four Mile Fire two years prior. Its homeowners, Michelle Wieber and Eric Stevens—and their two teenage sons—had put the fire behind them and were enjoying life in their idyllic mountain setting.
Then came the rain. On Wednesday, September 12, a flash flood swept through the town, washing cars, homes, and much of the town downstream. In the Denver Post’s photos of the town’s harrowing evacuations, we saw Eric and Michelle’s home, still standing, in the background—a churning river full of gnarled trees and overturned boulders running dangerously close to their bedroom.
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Through email communication facilitated by their architect, Lisa Egger, we found out that Eric, Michelle, and their family survived the flood and were safely evacuated by helicopter. But the night of the flood was something out of a nightmare. When the floodwaters began to rise, they relocated to their guesthouse—a little further up the hill—along with neighbors and their pets. Here’s an excerpt from Michelle’s email about what happened next:
“We moved up to the guest cottage when the water crept in [to the main house]… We were hit by a mudslide at 1 a.m., Thursday. Eric and I were in [a] back bedroom when [the] hillside let loose. We were pinned from waist down with water over our heads. I got free and it took us hours to get Eric dug out. A neighbor helped save his life. We were all hypothermic and in shock. Truly a miracle. We all have minor injuries. We are battered but strong in spirit.”
The Daily Camera interviewed the couple that helped dig Eric out of the mud. See their story here.
Eric and Michelle will likely not be able to move back to Salina. A fund has been established to help them rebuild their lives in Boulder. For more information about how to help, please visit youcaring.com.