Residents Return to Paradise, Thankful They Safely Escaped Camp Fire

PARADISE -- Families who escaped the Camp Fire returned Wednesday to see the damage firsthand as evacuation orders for parts of Paradise were lifted.

Piles of rubble were alongside household items that were left unrecognizable at homes along Pentz Road.

"We're looking at my garage door that it once used to be," said Omar Franklin at the site where his home once stood.

Franklin along with his wife, Janet, narrowly escaped the wildfire.

"Over here is my pop-up trailer with my son's little scooter that he used to have," Franklin pointed out.

Nearly one month later, he had an emotional moment seeing what was left firsthand as evacuations in the South Pines zone were lifted in areas along Pentz Road.

"I was just feeling like ... You just feel a void, like there's just nothingness" Janet Franklin said. "You have nothing but the clothes that you left with. That’s a very strange feeling."

The Butte County Health Department has been warning families returning to their homes that conditions may still be dangerous. They say the property should be declared safe from structural ash and hazardous waste from the fire.

Omar Franklin said he plans to one day rebuild.

As his family sifted through the rubble together, they said they were thankful they still had their lives.

"My wife had so many pictures up under our house," Omar Franklin said. "Now we have nothing but we have each other. I have my son and my wife."

Restrictions for non-residents in the South Pines zone will be lifted Thursday at 10 a.m. To find out what other zones are currently open, visit ButteCountyRecovers.