CU students help professor rebuild home after Marshall Fire

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Two University of Colorado Boulder students helped their professor rebuild his home after it burned in the Marshall Fire.

Engineering professor, Matt Morris, asked his students if anyone was interesting in helping him rebuild his home. The construction site turned into a classroom for the two students who volunteered. 

“This was definitely all new to me,” said George Kurtz, a senior at University of Colorado Boulder.   

“I put a burrito in the microwave for one minute and 45 seconds. Life was normal when I hit the start button, and before it beeped, we were just driving on memory because we couldn’t even see the road,” Matt Morris said. “There was so much soot and ash and embers, and our house was on fire and that was the last thing we saw as we ran out of the house. 

The neighbors and the stunning view of the mountains brought the Morris family back to the same lot, this time a little sturdier. 

“It’s concrete all the way from the ceiling, up to the roof, and the roof structure is steel,” Morris said. “So it’s completely non-combustible. We weren’t going to get fooled again in another fire.”

Professor Morris broke ground in August of 2022. By September, Kurtz stepped in to help his teacher build his home from the ground up, and learn about concrete. Another student, Daniel Donado Quintero, joined the effort by November. 

“As an engineering student, a big thing that we do is a summer internship,” Kurtz said. “And this was so much more of what I could have learned out of an internship, quote unquote, if you want to call it that.”
No extra credit, no guaranteed ‘A’, just volunteering. 

“What I was doing it more for was so he could get back into his home, that was my purpose, my drive, for showing up every day,” Kurtz said. 

“I got to teach along the way, which I really enjoy,” Morris said.  

This homework gets an A-plus.

“I think we did pretty good,” Kurtz said.

“We had lived in five houses since the fire so it was time to stop moving, and we are so thankful to be back right before the holidays,” Morris said.  

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