Victims of 2013 Colorado floods claim U.S. government opened dam without warning, destroying homes

Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 17:10:49-04

DENVER — Three victims of the 2013 flooding in Colorado have filed a lawsuit blaming the U.S. Government for opening floodgates that they say washed away homes downstream from the Olympus Dam.

According to the lawsuit, the Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam, made the call to release a massive amount of water from the dam to protect its integrity, as it overflowed with floodwater from a heavy storm that continued to dump water on Sept. 12, 2013.

The plaintiffs in the suit say had they been warned of the massive release, they would have been able to move some of their property, but instead they were surprised to find homes literally washed away.  

Details revealed in the lawsuit confirms the victims lost their homes and businesses in the flood, and are seeking compensation from the government for their losses. 

The lawsuit says the Bureau of Reclamation "made the determination to take [the victims'] property through its actions in releasing water from the Olympus Dam due to its concern for the integrity of the dam and the greater public good in preserving the dam versus [the victims'] property."

The victims and their attorney requested a jury trial to judge all issues laid out in the suit, however the trial has not yet been scheduled.

Denver7 reached out to the Bureau of Reclamation for comment, however representatives have yet to reply.