Officials Hold Camp Fire Community Meeting in Nearby Chico

CHICO -- Inside an auditorium at Chico State, people like Preston Engleton grabbed face masks as they waited to get answers at a community meeting held by state fire officials.

Engleton is one of many who escaped the Camp Fire as it burned his Paradise home.

“The orders happened around 8 or 8:15 and my family was already evacuated,” he said.

The fire, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, has now claimed the lives of at least 23 people. It became the third-deadliest wildfire in California history on Friday.

More than a hundred people are still missing.

“The fire that we were dealing with in Paradise moved so fast we were chasing it,” Sheriff Kory Honea said.

Honea says they are working to identify those who died.

“Family members of people reported missing can submit a DNA sample,” Honea said.

While Engleton says he knows it’ll take time before he can see the damage to his home, that his small town is in ruins, he says one day it can be rebuilt.

“Figure out casualties, figure out if gas is going to explode, or if the power is still on, he said. “My heart goes out to everybody.”