An engaged Colorado couple miraculously managed to find their charred wedding rings buried under rubble after wildfires ripped through their home on December 30.
Michael Parks and Kim Reiss had just seconds to grab their dog and get out of their Louisville, Colorado home as the flames got closer.
“I basically 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 quite surreal.”
Reiss’ parks and home destroyed in a Marshall forest fire. (Kim Reiss via KDVR)
Parks and Reiss, who are planning their wedding in a few months, didn’t have time to grab their wedding rings from a bedside table before fleeing the wildfires.
“We thought it was all gone,” Reiss said, “until we got shovels, a hazmat suit, and we came down here and dug for the rings.”
The couple used a sieve left on their property by a humanitarian group and began filling buckets with ash and soot.
“It was strange how close everything was to his old position,” Parks said. “It all kind of fell apart where it was, so we had an idea of where to dig for the covenant. We dug up six buckets and on that sixth we finally found it,” said he declared.
Reiss told KDVR she will never forget the moment they found the rings.
Photo of charred wedding rings found in the rubble.
“It was pretty crazy, we were hugging and so excited,” she said. The couple told KDVR that they plan to have the rings professionally cleaned before exchanging them on their May 28 wedding day.
A GoFundMe was 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 building from scratch — then having those few things is just amazing,” Parks said. “Hopefully in 30 or 40 years we can be like, ‘OK, that was the start, and we’ve rebuilt our lives together from here.'”
A Colorado official said more than 1,000 homes and other structures were destroyed, hundreds more damaged and three people missing after a wildfire charred scores of neighborhoods in a suburban area at the foot of the mountains Rockies.
Investigators are still trying to determine what triggered the massive fire.
At least seven people were injured in the wildfire that erupted in and around Louisville and Superior, nearby towns about 20 miles northwest of Denver with a combined population of 34,000. Two people are still missing, authorities said.
The blaze, which has scorched at least 9.4 square miles, was no longer seen as an immediate threat – especially with snow dumping overnight and freezing temperatures the next day.
The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report.