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Effort to rebuild has been slow process after Marshall Fire

The effort to rebuild has been a slow process in Boulder County.
Posted at 5:53 PM, Oct 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-04 19:53:44-04

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — It's been more than nine months since the Marshall Fire tore through Boulder County.

It damaged and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. But the effort to rebuild those homes has been a slow process.

So far, only about 10% of the homes lost have rebuilding permits.

Denver7 caught up with the first couple who received a permit back in May to see how the process was going.

Rebuilding after the Marshall Fire: Only 10% of properties have permits to rebuild

Pam and Dan Decker were the first to get a permit in unincorporated Boulder County in May.

They lost their home of nearly 20 years during the Dec. 30 fire.

"And as we pulled out the driveway, the fire was right there. We took one last picture of the house and drove away," Pam Decker said.

Denver7 spoke to the couple when they first received the permit five months ago.

Fast forward to now, and the couple's home has been under construction.

"All the framing is just brand new within the last couple of weeks. So it's been very, very exciting to see it and to be able to be this far along," Pam said.

The house is going to be similar to the one they lost. They're adding in things like concrete siding, fire sprinklers and replacing the wood deck with a concrete patio to make sure their house is protected.

For the Deckers, choosing to rebuild was an easy decision.

"It's where our kids have been our three children have been the grandchildren. It's just always been home and it has so many memories that we can't leave that this is what we know as home," Pam said.

But it hasn't been easy for their neighbors. Only 13 other rebuilding permits have been issued in unincorporated Boulder County, 50 in Louisville and 42 in Superior.

Neal Shah is co-founder of the group Superior Rising and is on the board of trustees for Superior. She said the process of rebuilding might have been tougher than intially thought for a lot of people.

"Everyone started ambitiously in the spring and said, 'I'm going do this!' But they realized it’s a lot of work, finding an architect, contractor, picking out finishes, everything that goes back to a house," Shah said.

"Some have decided to leave and to sell, others are in the process," Pam said. "They’re building, they’ve still got to go through the lengthy process, and all the codes that are required."

"I think the reason we’ve been pushing for rebates on use taxes and cutting the fees on permits and removing more expensive codes is because we want the original homeowners to come back," Neal said.

The Deckers are hopeful they'll be back home early next year.