Neighbors Pick up the Pieces After Urban Avalanche - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Neighbors Pick up the Pieces After Urban Avalanche

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MISSOULA -

One day after an urban avalanche destroyed a Missoula home and buried three people, residents are again coming to the rescue of those involved. Retired UM professor Fred Allendorf is now listed in serious condition while his wife, Michel Jo Colville, is still listed in critical condition. An 8-year-old boy was also pulled alive from the rubble. His condition is not yet known.

Friday, residents lined the streets with shovels and avalanche probes hoping to help pull the three from the rubble. On Saturday, many neighbors returned to the scene of the slide, but this time they were pulling much smaller items from the debris.

"It's emotional," said Jeanne Twohig. "It is. We're finding her jewelry. Someone found some of Fred's journals. It's important things we're trying to salvage what we can."

Twohig is braving single-digit temperatures with sub-zero wind chills to help a neighbor.

"just trying to piece back together what we can for them," she said.

One day after the slide, the emergency crews are gone but the destruction is clear.

"Oh man, tons of rubble," said Sandy Boehmler, who lives a block away from the slide. "A house has been crunched on top of cars."

Fred Allendorf and Michel Jo Colville's home is barely identifiable amid the ruble left behind after an avalanche swept through Friday. Fred is a retired professor who continues his research on conservation and population genetics at the University of Montana. Neighbors say Michel is quite crafty.

"We found some of the handmade things she made," Twohig said. "It's like a needle in a haystack though."

Twohig's husband was killed in an avalanche near Lolo years ago. She says she wasn't able to assist in his search and recovery and is now happy to be able to help a neighbor affected by a similar disaster.

"Last night it was overwhelming and this morning we're just so thankful they're all alive," Boehmler said. "We didn't think they were going to make it. We're just grateful. There were angels here last night no doubt."

And angels there Saturday, preserving the memories of their friends and neighbors.

Crews are still trying to determine what caused the avalanche. Officials with NorthWestern Energy say there are still three standing homes they cannot restore service to. They say the homes sustained too much damage in the slide.

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