It's been a very emotional time for all of those in Southern Colorado affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire, but especially for the families who lost everything.
It seems like only yesterday the destructive flames of the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed over 360 homes, including the one of KKTV's own, Chief Photojournalist, Mike Petkash.
We've been following his family's emotional journey from dramatic evacuation to the heartwrenching ride through the burnt Mountain Shadows neighborhood.
“It’s something you hear about possibly happening, but never think it actually will. But it did,” said Petkash back in June.
We also saw as they moved forward and began rebuilding a new home and life.
Now seven months after the fire, Petkash and his wife and son moved into their newly rebuilt home.
“It's really good to be back. I'm liking everything about it. It's closure day now," said Petkash.
"I've been waiting for this a long time. I am really, really, really excited to be here,” said Petkash's wife Maria.
Their son Michael is excited to be back in a place of their own. They’ve been living with nearby relatives since the fire.
"I'm happy to be moved in to a much larger space and not so confined,” said Michael.
We were there as the Petkash family was moving in. Petkash took us on a tour of their house.
They helped design what the home would look like, and this time have added amenities and a few personal touches.
“This is what I am most proud of, I got some fish fossils and our guy that does the rock work says he could totally incorporate it into the fireplace, " said Petkash.
And even though the memories they created in their old home can never be replaced, they are excited about what the future holds and new memories to come.
“Probably right after the fire was the worst part. Just figuring out what to do, do we rebuild? Do we move across town? Lost all our stuff...I think we made the right decision rebuilding,” said Petkash.
Petkash says the day they toured what was left of their last home was the day they decided to rebuild.
This time they are not taking any chances, and are making safety their number one priority, including having smoke detectors in almost every room.
“We went with stucco instead of wood siding, rock all the way around the house, there’s probably a good 12 foot buffer all the way around the house with rock,” said Petkash.
The trio is thrilled to be back with their neighbors and in familiar territory.
They are not the first to rebuild in their Mountain Shadows neighborhood and they know they won't be the last. They are glad to be among others also rebuilding.
While it will take time to adjust to seeing a new house on the same lot where their old home burned, they say it's all worth the wait.
Right now they are simply thankful to have home, and be back where they feel like they belong.
"Just having a place to call home again, knowing this is it. This is where I want to be," said Petkash.
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