Camp Fire Evacuees Begin Long Process of Starting Over

GRIDLEY -- Some Camp Fire evacuees were just beginning the recovery process Tuesday after losing everything in the deadly wildfire.

Terrie Payne and Gary Brand have spent weeks sleeping outside and in shelters after the fire destroyed their home in Paradise. They left everything behind, including their chihuahua Harley.

"I said, 'Harley, I love you.' It's all I could do," Brand said.

They don't know when they'll have a home again.

"You see this happen to other people and you think, 'Those poor people.' And you just never know when that could happen to you," Payne said.

The couple was hopeful after applying for FEMA aid.

"Everybody got burned out so you have this blank slate," said Toney Raines, the federal lead on FEMA's Housing Task Force.

Raines said there are dozens of trailers for Camp Fire victims sitting in Sacramento at McClellan Air Force Base. He says people staying in shelters will get priority.

"We're going to look at those folks who are in the shelters first and we're going to look at those with access and functional needs because we know that their recovery is often the most challenging," Raines told FOX40.

But Raines said with entire communities reduced to rubble, finding a safe place for the trailers is a tough task.

"We're going to make sure it's a safe, secure and sanitary environment," he said.

In the meantime, the evacuees with no place to go are relying on the four remaining Red Cross shelters.

"We will be here until we're no longer needed," said American Red Cross spokesman Stephen Walsh. "That could be two weeks, it could be four."

For many evacuees starting over is daunting and it's just beginning.

"I just take it one day at a time now. It's all I can do," Brand said.

FOX40 asked for FEMA's timeline for the trailers and was told it's hard to determine that because things are done on an individual basis. The FEMA trailers need to be placed in safe locations with power, water and sewage.

To be considered for a trailer you don't have to apply, you just have to register with FEMA online by clicking here or over the phone by calling 1-800-621-3362. You can also do so in person by going to 2140 Feather River Blvd., Oroville or 1982 East 20th Street, Chico.

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