Gov. Brown Pardons Man who Lost Home to the Camp Fire

CHICO -- The destruction left behind from the Camp Fire is forcing thousands to start over.

But one man who lost everything in the fire is getting another new beginning he actually asked for. He’s one of 38 people who Gov. Jerry Brown granted pardons to last week for nonviolent crimes.

It was a phone call Jason Burnett has been waiting more than a year for.

"It was the best news," he said.

Governor Brown’s office let him know the governor had granted him a pardon for drug-related crimes he served jail time for 24 years ago.

"My mother and father they were drug addicts. I started using at the age of 13, dropped out of school and pretty much just led a life of addiction and crime," Burnett said. "I’ve changed completely. It is a relief to completely close that chapter of my life."

It's news that couldn’t have come at a better time since just two weeks ago he lost his home and everything he owns in the Camp Fire.

"A lot of people say that it is material things and it is," Burnett told FOX40. "But I spent 20 years ... I came from a life of nothing and I built a life for myself and my family. So the things that I did have I appreciated."

Burnett was working in San Jose when the fire roared through his home in Paradise.

His wife, Heather, was also out of town and at work in Chico but she went back to their house to rescue their dog, Glamour. She got stuck in traffic on the way out.

"I called him to say goodbye and he refused to listen to me. He's like, 'This is not goodbye, you’re going to make it.' And I thought, 'I don’t know,'" Heather Burnett said.

She did make it and on Tuesday they were staying in a donated trailer outside their relative’s house in Chico.

The pardon marked two new beginnings for Jason Burnett, who was forced to start over in a new home but also given the opportunity to start over with a clean criminal record.

"It was great news in the darkest time," he said. "I built my life once and I didn’t have a clue how to. And today, at this part of my life, I know how."

The governor’s office says this pardon had nothing to do with Burnett losing his home. It’s just a coincidence that he granted the pardon just after the fire.

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