Rifle flooding damages 7 homes, fairground
The flash flood that hit Rifle Thursday evening damaged the Garfield County Fairgrounds, seven homes and the Colorado State Veteran’s Nursing Home, according to Rifle officials.Heavy rains in Rifle and to the northwest caused Government Creek and Rifle Creek to overflow.In the 1200 block of Howard Avenue and the 300 block of Park Avenue, three homes suffered major damage and four homes suffered minor damage, city officials said.Garfield County Emergency Management Officer Guy Meyer said five homes in the Park Avenue neighborhood suffered major damage.One family must live elsewhere until their home can be repaired.Approximately 26 families were evacuated and spent the night at Rifle High School or other shelters, according to the Rifle Police Department. There were no reported injuries.Major damages were also reported at the Veteran’s Nursing Home in the 800 block of East Fifth Street.Alpine Bank, in the 200 block of West Fourth Street, suffered minor water damage, as did Garfield County’s Henry Building a block to the east.Fast-moving waters ripped out about 60 feet of chain link fence at the fairgrounds, undermined part of the Rifle Creek Trail and Bike Path, and damaged a county culvert at 18th and Whiteriver Avenue which will cost about $25,000 to repair, Meyer said.It’s uncertain whether the high waters will affect upcoming events at the fairgrounds.Fairgrounds manager Bob Crompton said a five-day quarterhorse show is planned for next week. But as of Friday morning, there was still four feet of water at the fairground arena’s north end.The flood also covered the race track arena and left behind tons of silt.”We’ll have to do a lot of work to get it in shape,” Crompton said.The high waters zigzagged their way south through parts of town and flowed through the Valley Lumber Company yard on Highway 6&24, then on into the Colorado River.The flash flood did not damage water or sewer systems, and city crews spent Friday cleaning mud off streets and sidewalks.Garfield County emergency management director Guy Meyer, who lives in Rifle, said Thursday’s flash flood was the city’s biggest since 1994.
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