Credit: Debra Bowie. Bowie says this was taken as her family evacuated on June 26, 2012. She says the community really pulled together that day and in the aftermath of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Monday marked the two-year anniversary of the start of the Waldo Canyon Fire. So many in our community remember the images from the deadly fire that ripped through the west side of Colorado Springs.
Families we talked to said the day the fire started, they saw the smoke plume above the city, but they never imagined their homes would burn.
One couple we talked to lost nearly everything in the fire, and in a terrible twist, when the Black Forest Fire happened, lost all they had left.
John Gardner and his wife Terrie remember exactly where they were and what they were doing the day the Waldo Canyon Fire started.
"The anniversary is [pauses] I don't know I’m not sure how to describe the emotions but it's just one of those big milestones," John Gardner said.
"We packed up some things, stayed with my parents for a couple nights then came back the night before, and so we got one last night at the house before it came down the hill," Terrie Gardner added.
The fire raged on, and their house was one of the 347 that were lost on June 26, 2012. They lived with Terrie's parents in Black Forest while their home was being rebuilt.
But then less than one year later, the couple's refuge became the site of another destructive fire. The Black Forest Fire destroyed even more houses than the Waldo Canyon Fire had the year before. Terrie's parents, who had opened their home during one wildfire, lost their home in another. Terrie and John lost every possession they had left.
Two years after the Waldo Canyon Fire and one year after the Black Forest Fire, the Gardners have moved back into Mountain Shadows.
"When we moved in it was literally a couple of Walmart bags in the back of our car and that's what we owned," John Gardner said.
Forced to start all over like the majority of families on their street and in their neighborhood, the Gardners said now more than ever the community is closer together.
"We’re happy to be in our home and back with our neighbors. We live on the best street in Mountain Shadows area," Terrie Gardner said.
A lot of people in the Mountain Shadows area are planning some sort of get together on Thursday, that day marks the day they lost their homes.
We talked to investigators about the cause of the fire. They don't have any new information. We know the fire was human-caused, but investigators told us at this point, there's not much they can do without any new leads coming in.