Hundreds of Lyons residents return home after flooding

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LYONS, Colo. -- A month and a half after floodwaters ravaged their town, hundreds of Lyons residents are returning home. People living on the north side of Lyons finally opened their doors on Saturday as utility crews opened fuel lines and relit pilot lights in their neighborhoods. Only now is water, sewer and gas service being fully restored in many parts of town.

"Getting people back in the houses and in town and getting life back to dare I say normal, starting to trend that way, will be a good thing for everybody," said Pete Sutcliffe who lives on Steamboat Valley Road. Like many other residents, Sutcliffe has been living outside of Lyons since heavy rain swept through his community in September. A neighbor, Betsy Hubner, spent the last several weeks living out of her suitcase while traveling around the western U.S. with her husband.

"When I pulled up yesterday and came around the bend I started to cry," Hubner said. "Home! And then the water came on today and I was like yes, the water."

"The town has a schedule that they're working through," said Phylllis O'Rourke, a longtime Lyons resident. "They're testing the water, they're testing the sewer system and turning on the gas. That was the big deal today." Like many others, O'Rourke worried that service might not be restored before winter set in.

"So this is a miracle really," she said.

However, service remains down in areas closer to the St. Vrain River. Ed Huesers, who lives in the Confluence area, spent his Saturday on a tractor trying to remove dirt and debris from his garage. He said it could be months before his home is livable again.

"Well, I've gotten over the pain of it," Huesers said. "It's a long haul, a long road to hoe, right?"

One bit of normalcy did return to Lyons on Saturday evening as residents, some of them in flood-related costumes, marched in the annual Halloween parade down Main Street.

"We have a long way to go," O'Rourke said before adding "this is home."