Those Affected by the Camp Fire Come Together to Grieve

CHICO -- How does one overcome the loss of life, the loss of homes or the loss of a town?

For thousands of Camp Fire survivors who called Paradise home, there is no going back to how things were.

But a week and a half after the devastation began, the future remains very distant.

"It just seems like I’m frozen in time right now though because everything is moving forward but we are stuck where we are at, which is nowhere right now," said Lori Florence.

On Sunday evening, the town of Paradise came together in Chico at the First Christian Church. The vigil was a chance to grieve together.

"It’s unbelievable, what it's been," said Paradise Mayor Jody Jones. "The days have just run together. I can’t believe it’s been a week and a half."

Jones said the magnitude of what has happened to her town has not hit her yet. She said she has been too busy for personal reflection.

On Saturday, Jones was with President Donald Trump as he saw first-hand the scale of destruction.

"He said to me, 'We have to help these people. These are my people,'" Jones recalled. "That just blew me away. We're all Americans, we're all in this together."

However, coming back to Paradise as one was not a reality for all.

After losing her home, Florence and her family have been living in Redding. Even if her family moved back someday, she believes it wouldn’t be to the same Paradise they have called home for 20 years.

"There is no town left, you know, and to rebuild the town it’s going to be different. It’s going to be all modern," she said. "That’s not what Paradise is. We can’t live in a town that’s charred and I just think it’s our sign that it’s time to go."

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