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Homeless urged to abandon camps along swollen Fountain Creek

CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/JOHN JAQUES
Rudy Sotelo and his dogs Oreo and Browine are forced to evacuate his camp along the Fountain Creek on Friday because of rising food waters.
CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/JOHN JAQUES Rudy Sotelo and his dogs Oreo and Browine are forced to evacuate his camp along the Fountain Creek on Friday because of rising food waters.

Rudy Sotelo watched from a bluff overlooking Fountain Creek Friday afternoon as the water in the channel continued to rise.

“Man, it’s gone up about a foot in the past hour. I just hope my stuff is OK out there,” said Sotelo, who calls the bank of the Fountain Creek “home.”

“I had to get out so fast, I hope I didn’t forget to put anything up. If I did, I’m sure it will be washed away.”

He was among several people forced to evacuate their homeless camps Friday after the flow in the Fountain Creek increased dramatically overnight from the heavy rain that fell in the area, particularly to the north.

“The police told us there was a wave of water coming down and we had to get out,” said Sotelo, whose shoes and socks were soaked from splashing through water 2-feet deep to get out of the campsite.

“My camp is only about two feet away from where the water is right now. I put everything up in the trees that I could.”

Police walked the creek banks and stopped at the Pueblo Community Soup Kitchen on Friday afternoon to warn those with camps along the Fountain to abandon them because of rushing water coming down the creek from Colorado Springs.

Although he didn’t want to leave his camp, Sotelo said he knew Thursday night the water was getting rough.

“I sweated it out last night,” he said. “I stayed awake until 1 or 2 (a.m.) watching the water rise. When I couldn’t stay up any more, I just prayed and put it in the Lord’s hands.”

Sotelo said he awoke Friday to find what had been an exposed sandbar in the middle of the creek completely submerged.

“Now if that one disappears,” he said pointing to a larger sandbar in the middle of the creek, “things are going to get real ugly.”

He and a friend said they planned to wait out the rising waters and return to their camp in a day or two.

“This is the fourth flood that we’ve had this year. The water will eventually go down, I just hope it doesn’t get to my stuff before then.”

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