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Poudre Canyon residents recall terrifying moments before, during mudslide

Wednesday night, three people are still unaccounted for
Poudre Canyon residents recall terrifying moments before and during mudslide
Posted at 9:59 PM, Jul 21, 2021

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Last summer's wildfire left burn scars high above Poudre Canyon, and now, there's a wound below the canyon's cliffs.

On Tuesday, a mudslide followed flash flooding in the Poudre Canyon area.

"I'm just in shock. I keep reliving what I saw," Jerry Wilkerson said. "It sounded like a freight train or a tornado. Just a very loud, rumbling sound."

Poudre Canyon residents comfort one another.
Poudre Canyon residents seen comforting one another.

Wilkerson has owned his summer cabin off of Black Hollow Road for 31 years.

On Wednesday evening, he told Denver7 he and his wife were traveling down the road when he heard a transformer blowout.

"When we heard the transformer blow, my wife yelled at me, 'Turn around! Turn around!' We could see in the trees up there, this big 8- to 10-foot tall mass rolling towards the river, a lot of sludge, a lot of huge boulders and logs. When that hit the cabins, it didn't even slow down. It just pushed them in the river," Wilkerson said.

His cabin is still intact, but five homes were destroyed, according to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.

Jerry Wilkerson looking through debris
Jerry Wilkerson looking through debris near his cabin.

"If we had been a minute earlier and I had driven across the bridge and turned to our cabin. That's probably when that mass would've hit, and it would've probably pushed us into the river," Wilkerson said. "We would've died."

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office confirmed three people remain missing and one person died in the Black Hollow Road area. Search operations will continue Thursday morning.