Crosses built to honor Camp Fire victims removed from roadside spot

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PARADISE, Calif. (KTXL) -- Eighty-five crosses meant to honor the victims of the Camp Fire were removed.

Many drivers were used to seeing the wooden crosses lined up side by side as they made their way back into the town of Paradise.

“I thought they would be there until, what, they rotted away?” said Paradise resident Vince Alamio. “They seemed to be a kind of permanent remembrance, if you want to call it that.”

But nearly one year after the deadly wildfire, drivers coming into town Thursday noticed the crosses had been removed.

“I know they were created as a temporary memorial,” said Gold Nugget Museum Operations Manager Michelle Rader. “And they were made of wood, so they were not made to last, unfortunately.”

Rader said after careful consideration, the group decided to follow in the footsteps of other cities across the country by relocating the crosses to a museum.

She said the crosses were in bad shape. Many of the names were unrecognizable and the wood was starting to chip away.

“We want to preserve those memories as best as we can,” Rader explained.

The crosses were hand-delivered and donated by Greg Zanis with Crosses for Losses back in December. Zanis has donated countless other crosses to communities across the country as a temporary remembrance for victims of tragedies.

Rader said the crosses were being stored away until the community can decide on a plan for them. She said she’s hoping they can be restored.

“It makes a lot of sense to keep that memory alive of who they lost,” Alamio said.

Rader said the group is working with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office to contact victims’ families, who still have the option to retrieve the crosses from the museum.

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