First West home rebuilt since explosion

Posted at 7:02 PM, Aug 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-09 20:02:41-04

The city of West hit another milestone Friday, as a family moved back into their home. This is the first home in zone three to be rebuilt since the April 17th explosion.

If you looked at the home, one would never know that just months ago it was destroyed by the blast.

Like others in zone three, the Kucera family had to wait nine days before they were allowed back in to see what was left of their house.

Homeowner Stephanie Kucera recalls the day they were allowed back in.

"I cried for three days saying I wanted to go home," said Kucera. "Then when we got here I parked in front of the neighbor's house and just cried I couldn't go in. It took about 45 minutes just to walk around take it in because it's not what I thought I would see." 

The house was demolished May 27th and rebuilt from the slab up in just two and a half months. Construction crews worked tirelessly to have the family back in before school started.

The Kucera family didn't get rid of everything from their old home. They incorporated bricks from the old house to create a cross in their new walk way and kept their old mantel over their fireplace.

Every house on the 400 block of Northridge Circle suffered heavy damage from the blast but every homeowner has chosen to stay and rebuild.

Homeowner Steven Kucera says it was important for them to rebuild.

"The other roads here, like Reagan Street, there are just not very many homes coming back," said Kucera. "So you know it's nice, when you see these people that are coming back to west." 

West Mayor Tommy Muska says this house is a true symbol of rebuilding.

"I think it's a positive message for the citizens and gives them hope but it also gives the people of this country and the state the idea that we are moving forward, with their help and their prayers, we are moving forward," said Muska.  

Stephanie Kucera says while they're happy to be back, they have mixed emotions.

"It's hard in a way knowing there are so many people still hurting because of loss of lives, loved ones, friends, people that are still dealing with their insurance companies. But you know, this happened for us and it can happen for everybody else, it's just going to take time," said Kucera.

Muska says people in West need this symbol of hope.

"They have a lot of negative from the bull dozing of the houses. Although it's a progress it's still negative when you're bulldozing something. This is rebuilding. This is truly rebuilding."