Black Forest Fire victims targeted by theives

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -- The growing containment and decreasing evacuations are good news for people who live in the black forest fire area.

But problems remain for some evacuees--even those who didn’t lose homes.

People who live in the part of black forest off Shoup Rd. Will get to finally go home at 8 p.m. Monday--after nearly a week away.

Some evacuees will go back to homes--others won’t.

But each faces anxiety nonetheless.

“The truck wouldn’t start. Well, if you don’t have oxygen your car won’t start,” says Donna Johnson, who lost her home to the ferocious flames.

She and her husband barely escaped.

“We tore out of there--both sides of a five-acre driveway. We drove through a wall of fire.”

They raced out of there with their two dogs only after jumping into her car protected in the garage.

“Everything is devastated, gone to the ground,” she says.

She knows she won’t have much to return to when the county opens up her neighborhood.

But she will acquire at least one thing.

“I need see with my own eyes, I know it burned down. But I need to drive up there to see the house and that will give me closure,” she says.

“They stole the stuff in the car,” says Amira Ruiz, another Black Forest evacuee.

Flames spared her home. But thieves got the best of her.

“We lost all the most important papers you can ever have: birth certificate, social security, everything,” she says. They also took her passport, credit cards, and immigration papers. She says to get another passport, she’ll have to go to San Francisco.

Thieves took the documents and credit cards from their car while living in a friend’s driveway in a trailer in Colorado Springs.

Today, she gets information from the black forest fire assistance center--as well as food and water.

“In this moment we are very worried. We are supporting our family,” says Ruiz.

They may have escaped the flames--but now must worry about something more insidious: identity theft.

“They can buy things in our name,” says Ruiz.

Thieves also took Ruiz’s husband’s work contracts for the next two months.

He operates DAC Tile.

Now he doesn’t know who to contact for tiling jobs.

They hope if you have hired him to do tiling, you will call him at 719-491-8912.