The Colorado Springs Fire Department released amazing video Monday, showing what firefighters were up against almost one week earlier as the Waldo Canyon Fire swept through the Mountain Shadows subdivision.
The footage, shot by CSFD Audio/Visual Specialist Steve Schopper, shows homes blazing, flames spreading and firefighters working to save the neighborhood.
Schopper said he wants people to see that in addition to the destruction of 346 homes, there were many triumphs.
"I've seen so much destruction, I wanted to know what we had saved," said Schopper. "That's why I threw my efforts into this, and hoped that the story would get out there. So that those who lost their homes, those that were evacuated, all the citizens of Colorado Springs know we were out there and that we were working as hard as we could to save structures."
Emotions are starting to come to the forefront for firefighters, especially after watching Schopper's video for the first time after living through it Tuesday.
"It's impulsive and it's what you're trained to do," said Battalion Chief James Schanel. "It isn't until I saw the video that you see what's going on with the public, and the destruction was amazing."
Schanel said he's proud that firefighters were able to save more than 80 percent of the homes directly threatened Tuesday.
He points out that the Colorado Springs Fire Department couldn't have done it alone. Many other agencies joined in taking big risks and refusing to give up as fire and flames rained down.
"These people, under our direction, said, 'We will engage,'" said Schanel. "And it was because of them we saved all those structures."
"You have to take the bitter with the sweet," said Schopper. "I was looking at the bitter and so was everybody else in Colorado Springs, but then the sweet was seeing that those structures were being saved."
Schopper said documenting fire fights is important and necessary because footage can be used, not only for investigations, but for training. He said the video would likely be used across the nation to train firefighters.