Colorado couple recovers wedding bands buried in rubble after wildfire destroys home
An engaged Colorado couple miraculously managed to find their charred wedding rings buried under rubble after wildfires ravaged their home on Dec. 30.
Michael Parks and Kim Reiss had just seconds to grab their dog and get out of their Louisville, Colorado home as flames closed in.
"I basically just grabbed the photo albums, threw them in the car, and drove," Parks told KDVR. The couple returned the next day to find their entire neighborhood destroyed.
"I just fell to my knees," Reiss said. "It was pretty surreal."
Parks and Reiss home destroyed in Marshall wildfire. (Kim Reiss via KDVR)
Parks and Reiss, who are preparing for their wedding in a few months, had no time to grab their wedding bands from a bedside table before fleeing the wildfires.
"We figured everything was gone," Reiss said, "until we got some shovels, got a hazmat suit, came down here, and dug for the rings."
The couple used a sifter left at their property by a humanitarian group and started filling up buckets of ash and soot.
"It was eerie how close everything was to its old position," Parks said. "Everything just kind of fell down where it was, so we had an idea where to dig for the wedding band. We dug up six buckets and on that sixth one, we finally found it," he said.
Reiss told KDVR she will never forget the moment they found the rings.
Photo of charred wedding bands found in the rubble.
"It was pretty crazy, We were hugging, and just so excited," she said. The couple told KDVR they planned to have the rings professionally cleaned before exchanging them on their wedding day May 28.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.
Michael Parks and Kim Reiss. ( Kim Reiss via KDVR)
"When you lose everything, having those few little things that you can really hold on to — because you’re just rebuilding from nothing — so having those few things, is just amazing," Parks said. "Hopefully 30, 40 years from now, we can go, ‘OK, this was the start, and we rebuilt our lives together from here.’"
A Colorado official said over 1,000 homes and other structures were destroyed, hundreds more were damaged, and three people are missing after a wildfire charred numerous neighborhoods in a suburban area at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the massive fire.
RELATED: Colorado wildfire devastates Brookfield family; home reduced to ashes
At least seven people were injured in the wildfire that erupted in and around Louisville and Superior, the neighboring towns about 20 miles northwest of Denver with a combined population of 34,000. Two people are still missing, according to officials.
The blaze, which burned at least 9.4 square miles, was no longer considered an immediate threat — especially with the overnight dumping of snow and frigid temperatures the day after.
The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report.