Retired architect sets out to rebuild his community and business

After Jason Serbu lost his home in the Marshall Fire, he left retirement to design his own dream home, then started a new company to rebuild his neighbor’s home.

Senior, Colorado. — Trying to find ways to help — That was the reaction of many after the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County last December.

Jason Serbu survived the fire but lost his home. He couldn’t stand by while people in the community needed help.

Wildfires destroyed Serbu’s downtown Superior home, but he decided to look on the bright side.

“I finally had the opportunity to design the dream home that my wife has always wanted, and I never had the time to do it before,” said Serbu. “I thought I could do one home, I could do 10.”

He retired as an architect from designing homes before the Marshall Fire hit.

“I think architecture is one of those things that you can never retire,” Serbu said. “I think the best thing that’s ever happened to me is that I’m going to grow old at the drafting table.”

Rather than retiring from construction, Serbu now designs homes for fire survivors—including himself.

“I mean, the fire was a wake-up call for everyone,” Selb said.

He can understand the customer’s loss.

“When I say I know what you’re going through, I really know what you’re going through,” he said. “I wish we hadn’t.”

He has completed the design of four homes so far, including his own – and rediscovered his passion in the process.

“Where I’ve always wanted to live, I can now do that,” he said.

His journey recovering from the fire led him to start a new company, hire staff and plan to keep building — beyond the fire rebuild.

“You can look at this disaster in one of two ways,” Serbu said. “You can let it get you down and negatively affect you, and I understand that a lot of times it’s hard to see the positive.”

His client wants to rebuild better so this doesn’t happen again. Watching their home go from paper to 3D design helps begin to heal the scars left by the fire.

“It’s a ray of hope for what we’re going through, that this is being done,” said one fire survivor.

Dozens of fire survivors have been given permission to start building new homes, while hundreds are still waiting to decide whether to rebuild.

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