LOUISVILLE, Colo. — A single father from Louisville who lost everything in the Marshall Fire is reflecting on his rebuilding journey six months after the fire.
Cristopher Benner is an emergency worker and search and rescue volunteer who was helping treat an influx of hospital patients in Boulder the day the Marshall Fire broke out on Dec. 30.
"It was a very busy day in the emergency department. I didn't know if my property was going to be okay. And I literally had gone to work that day, just thinking it'd be a normal day in the E.R., just with the clothing on my back," said Benner.
Benner said he never expected a wildfire to impact his suburban-area community. The home where he had been raising his 9-year-old son, Fergus, was destroyed. They also lost their beloved cat, Bugsy.
"I came back in the early hours the next morning to see the area was decimated. It was catastrophic, to say the least. It was like a scene in a movie," added Benner.
Benner said deciding to rebuild in Louisville was an easy decision, especially when it comes to his son.
"He has been my pillar of strength. He has done amazingly well in the process," he said. "This is his first home. This community is incredibly strong. So I never doubted that we would ever sell this property or doubted that we would rebuild here."
Rebuilding has been a challenge for Benner when it comes to dealing with the insurance process. But his lot has been cleared out and he has contracts with a builder and they are in the design process. He hopes to break ground on the property in the next few months.
"The community has come together so well through this process. I think we'll actually get a stronger community when this is all said and done, as sad as it is," said Benner.
Benner and his son are temporarily staying in an apartment in Louisville until their home is rebuilt. He is still not sure how long the process will take but estimates it will be between 1 to 2 years before they are in their new house.