Five people escaped serious injury after a natural-gas explosion destroyed a home in the 6900 block of Sulfur Lane in Castle Rock Oct. 12. Two adjoining homes were damaged and deemed uninhabitable.
The Riley family lived in one of those homes. They are grateful that no one in either family was seriously hurt. Then the reality of "what's next" started to sink in.
There is so much structural damage to the house; they can't go home. They can't salvage anything inside because of potential contamination and an ongoing insurance investigation.
It is impossible to ignore all that is lost at the home that exploded. There is a fence around the piles of wood and metal. You can make out a bike tire and some clothes clinging to what is left of a couch cushion. The damage is catastrophic.
The loss isn't as obvious next door, but it is devastating as well.
"It's hard to see the impact to the children," Tasha Riley, mother of six, said. "It is a lot to go through."
The Riley's were so excited to move into the house in the Sapphire Pointe neighborhood. They came to Colorado from Florida to pursue Tasha's dream to go to law school. She is in her second year at the University of Denver.
Daryl, who's 5, remembers the moment the walls broke away from the framing and the window shattered onto the bed where she was sleeping.
"Our house blew up." She said.
All six children were asleep when it happened around 7 a.m. that day.
Inside the home, the damage is everywhere. But even the possessions that survived the blast are off limits. The Riley's are not allowed to take anything out of the house because of the insurance investigation.
Many things will have to be thrown out, because they are covered in glass, fiberglass, and other chemicals.
So for three weeks and counting, a family of eight has not had a dish to cook with, toys, their clothing or any other personal items from inside their home. They have been paying to stay in a hotel.
Friday, they finally moved into a rental property in Commerce City. They have a house but not one piece of furniture to put in it.
These are the struggles that exist weeks after a tragedy.
One of the hardest changes will be moving and leaving friends behind.
"Our daughter cried when she had to leave school today. It's hard to see them go through that," Tasha Riley said.
"God has kept us together and we are so thankful for that," Tony Riley, father of six, said.
The Riley's say they are thankful for the Sapphire Pointe Homeowner's Association, the Red Cross, and Sage Canyon Elementary School.
If you would like to help the Riley family:
"Riley Family Fund"
Account number 136890260
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)