LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Just after sunrise, a crowd gathered on Larkspur Lane to celebrate the dawn of a new day in Louisville.
“Let me take a picture,” said a woman in the crowd.
A celebration, as the very first Marshall Fire survivors to rebuild are finally moving back in, just under the one-year anniversary of the devastating blaze.
“We are staying here tonight,” said Jessica Carson who was one of more than 1,000 residents who lost their homes during the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.
“Everyone handles trauma and situations like this differently,” Carson said. “For me, I needed to move forward.”
Carson and her two kids cutting a ribbon on the front porch of their brand-new home on Friday, the poster family for what will soon be a wave of people moving back into Louisville and Superior.
Several rebuilds are nearing completion in the two neighboring suburbs of Denver.
“Thank you, first to my kids for being so resilient and amazing,” Carson told the crowd gathered in her cul-de-sac. “My neighbors are awesome. So many are here.”
For Carson, it was never a question of if. She was on the phone with Justin Wood, owner of Wood Brothers builders the day after the fire.
“It was devastating for me to see it because I’ve been here my whole life,” Wood said. “And we can help people move forward. You know, where they’re still seeing backwards and a lot of hurt – we can bring something positive.”
“That was the biggest goal to just get back here,” Carson said. “I miss here. I miss the community and the people.”
Inside her brand-new home – champagne and coffee – not a bad combo for toasting such a beautiful occasion.
“I never planned to build a home from scratch,” Carson said. “It was never on my bucket list. And Wood Brothers just made it gorgeous. It’s better than I could have ever hoped for.”