PARADISE — Loren Lighthall wears a lot of hats. He’s a husband and a father to seven children.
But his most visible job is principal of Paradise High School.
“It was a very hard decision to make ’cause you’re the principal of a high school in a town with one high school and communities need good leaders,” Lighthall said.
Lighthall announced this week he and his family will be leaving Paradise for good, like so many others in the fire-ravaged community.
It’s a choice Lighthall said his family of nine made out of obligation.
“We’ve just been unable to secure housing and we can’t live in temporary housing year after year,” he told FOX40.
Lighthall’s home was burned to the ground in November when the deadly Camp Fire ravaged the town of Paradise and killed 85 people. Nearly 14,000 homes were destroyed, creating a drastic housing shortage overnight.
It left families like the Lighthalls in a tough spot.
“The trauma’s been tough because I’ve never really experienced it in my life,” Lighthall said.
Though he’s an authority figure, Lighthall said he’s not immune to the pain felt among the rest of his community. That too contributed to his decision to leave Paradise.
“At some point, you’re just being reminded of it too much and everything becomes about the trauma and I think putting some distance away from that’s going to help,” he said.
So far, Lighthall said it’s been nothing but support from his school community on his decision, much of whom are going through the same struggle that he is.