Six Months after the Camp Fire, Residents of Paradise Find New Life Beneath the Rubble

California Connection
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PARADISE — If you look in any direction from the vantage point of the newly rebuilt Starbucks in Paradise, you can see that much of the town remains in ruins — but not all of it.

That’s where FOX40 met Julionna Keers Wednesday, six months after the Camp Fire devastated her hometown.

“I don’t feel like it’s been six months, you know what I mean, because I’m up here every day and it’s kind of my reality every day,” Keers said. “I feel like we should be getting more coverage because everyone thinks that the town is completely gone.”

Several stores and restaurants have already reopened, including Meehos Mexican restaurant, which found a creative way to get back in business.

“They can’t fully reopen their building yet but they’re cooking all their food in a truck outside of the building,” Keers said. “So anything that people can do to come back up, they’re doing it.”

The home where Keers grew up survived the Camp Fire but the memories of lives lost and a whole way of life changing forever are inescapable.

“I feel like there’s always going to be that amount of grief because you’re never going to forget that day,” Keers told FOX40.

From the perspective of a person who still calls Paradise home, the community is turning a corner.

“I feel like now it’s more of rebuilding and starting over and continuing with our lives even though it’s going to be really hard,” Keers said. “I’m hoping that a lot more people are going to come back up here and rebuild.”

Heavy equipment is at work in Butte County every day. Hundreds of trucks are hauling tons of debris away from town, some driven by residents of Paradise.

“You know, what else are you gonna do? I guess you could cut and run but that doesn’t seem right,” said truck driver Rob Harmon.

On Fern Lane, Alaina and Scott Murray were relieved to finally see the first loads of debris taken from the lot where their home stood.

“We’re very happy to be able to come to our property and not see everything that we lost,” Alaina Murray said.

“Now it’s focusing on the future and focusing on how people can rebuild their lives,” Keers said.


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