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Colorado Marshall Fire victims share their story: "A journey through paralysis and fire"

Marshall Fire victims share their story: "A journey through paralysis and fire"
Marshall Fire victims share their story: "A journey through paralysis and fire" 02:53

This Saturday will mark two years since the Marshall fire devastated multiple communities in Boulder County, ripping through neighborhoods and destroying more than 1,000 homes. 

One family in Superior shared their story of recovery, which includes one spouse relearning how to walk again after becoming paralyzed during a health emergency, and the other spouse documenting their journey by writing and publishing a book. 

The Canova family was one of many families who lost their homes during the Marshall Fire. 


In August, they were able to move into their newly rebuilt home in the same community they had been living in before the fire started. They said they're thankful to finally spend the holidays back at home, but the journey getting there was not easy. 

About two weeks before the fire broke out, Lori had emergency surgery to remove a tumor in her spine. When she woke up, she was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.

"In the course of that, I ended up damaging more nerves and I woke up and I couldn't walk," said Lori. 


As she was recovering in the hospital, her husband Brent was measuring doorways at their home to ensure they were wheelchair accessible. A few weeks went by, and then she got the call from Brent that their neighborhood was being evacuated. 

"We saw the smoke off in the distance and then the wind kicked up. Within an hour, the fire was at our front door," said Brent. 

Brent grabbed all that he could before leaving their home. He said he thought he'd be gone for just a day or two and would be able to return to their home soon. As he left their home for the final time with the few belongings he could grab, he said the visibility was low because of the heavy smoke. 

"We're getting pelted with hot ash and leaning into the 100-mile-an-hour winds, and we knew we had to evacuate," said Brent. 


Hours later, the couple learned their house burned to the ground. For Lori, she felt like it was yet another loss. 

"I just said, 'oh my god, my house. it's gone.' First my legs, I can't walk, and now my house is gone," said Lori. "It just didn't seem like that could really be happening, because we thought we were going to be OK." 

Lori was determined to learn how to walk again. She spent months at the hospital going through physical therapy. After physical therapy, she spent the evenings looking for a one-floor home that was wheelchair and ADA-accessible. With a granddaughter on the way, she had one goal.  

"My granddaughter was born in June, so I wanted to be able to walk before she was walking," said Lori. 


Lori slowly regained her strength and the ability to walk again throughout the past two years. Meanwhile, during their journey, Brent wrote and published a book documenting their story. 

The book is called, "A Journey Through Paralysis and Fire." 

"Writing the book has been therapeutic for me getting through the experience," said Brent. 

Now, they're turning the page once again in their new home surrounded by family for the holidays. Today, they hold on closely to the few items they saved during the fire. Those included some photo albums, a burned piece of an instrument, and burned coins. 


"We've been together through this, this trauma and now we're ready for the new chapter," said Lori. "We're making a house into a home again. It's been really a special holiday season for us," said Brent. 

Brent said, while rebuilding a home was important, Lori's health was more important. 

Now, their new home is on the same lot, with the same design, however there are minor differences like an ADA-accessible front entrance, and wider doorways for wheelchair accessibility.

Colorado family settles into new two years after Marshall Fire 01:52
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