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Free sandbags snapped up at Springs event

By: Kassondra Cloos
April 13, 2013
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photo - A dog watches from its owner's pickup as volunteers load sandbags  Saturday, April 13, 2013, during a sandbag give away for residents in the Waldo Canyon Fire area at the Verizon Wireless parking lot off Flying W Ranch Road. The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management partnered with Colorado Springs Together to provide the sandbags to homeowners that could be impacted  by protential floodling. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)  Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
A dog watches from its owner's pickup as volunteers load sandbags Saturday, April 13, 2013, during a sandbag give away for residents in the Waldo Canyon Fire area at the Verizon Wireless parking lot off Flying W Ranch Road. The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management partnered with Colorado Springs Together to provide the sandbags to homeowners that could be impacted by protential floodling. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE 

Not a single bag was left for the taking on Saturday after a Colorado Springs sandbag giveaway.

Ken Hughlett, emergency management coordinator for the city’s Office of Emergency Management, oversaw the event and said about 500 families and individuals got a share of 10,000 sandbags. Cars were backed up throughout the Verizon Wireless parking lot at 2424 Garden of the Gods Rd. and the bags were gone by early afternoon.

The event was scheduled to run until 4 p.m., and people, including hopeful volunteers, kept coming well after the supply was gone.

Flood concerns are a top issue in northwestern Colorado Springs in the wake of last year’s Waldo canyon fire. The 18,000-acre blaze denuded the hills, making the area vulnerable to flash-flooding that experts fear could flow into west-side neighborhoods.

Hughlett directed dozens of residents to Colorado Springs Together and a few fire stations in the area, which are offering free, unfilled sandbags while supplies last.

Sandbags aren’t a permanent fix to potential flood problems, Hughlett said. His goal is for people to have the resources and knowledge to divert water long enough to safely evacuate.

“I want to make sure they have the time to get out of the house,” Hughlett said. “Lives over property.”

About 600 volunteers turned out to help fill the 50-pound bags, Hughlett said.

The bags were purchased with grant money and Daniels Sand donated 150 tons of sand to fill them.

The supply ran out an hour before Don Knight, city councilman-elect in District 1, arrived to volunteer and get a few sandbags for himself. His house is likely safe from potential flooding, he said, but “better safe than sorry.”

Knight’s district has the highest risk of flooding.

“Hopefully it doesn’t come to that,” he said.

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