An avalanche early Tuesday slammed into the home of Hinsdale County Sheriff Justin Casey, injuring him and two of his children.
The slide happened at about 6:30 a.m. south of Lake City. One of the three suffered serious injuries while two others had minor injuries. Further details were not immediately released.
The Hinsdale County Administrator’s Office says it took about 15 first responders an hour to locate all three victims who were in the home when the slide hit and get them to a hospital.
“There’s some big avalanche paths there that come off of Sunshine Peak and, our guess is, without being on site because no one is going up there, that that’s where it originated from,” said Ethan Greene, who leads the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Greene said a home is struck by an avalanche in Colorado every few years, but not to the extent of the slide that happened Tuesday.
“This sounds like it did a lot of damage to the house and that is quite unusual,” he said. “We don’t really know how big the avalanche was. If it’s big enough of to destroy a reasonably sized house that would shelter a family, that’s a big avalanche.”
About 15 nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution and other residents in the area were urged to be alert for other avalanches that might occur.
Avalanche danger remains high in many of the mountain ranges of western Colorado. Another storm is expected to slam into the state on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s slide comes amid a stretch of historic avalanche conditions in Colorado that buried roads, shuttered ski areas and left three men dead.
Two of the three killed died in avalanches while backcountry skiing. A third was killed while trying to clear snow from a roof in Crested Butte when he was thrown from the building and buried.