TEHEMA RANCH (CBS13) — The Butte County Sheriff’s Department’s list of the unaccounted for following the Camp Fire is now at 631 people.
While some of those are feared dead, one family of three on that missing list — is okay, and they want their friends to know it.
Greg Fernea and his adult sons Nick and Patrick escaped Paradise together as the Camp Fire inferno destroyed it.
“It makes me feel very fortunate to have been with my boys and gotten out of there,” Greg Fernea said.
“I never thought I would have experienced anything as terrifying as I did,” Patrick Fernea said.
They are alive, although they have officially been declared missing. The Butte County Sheriff list of the unaccounted for shows Patrick, Nicholas, and Gregory Fernea among those who had not been heard from since the fire erupted last week.
They have been staying at Patrick’s home in rural Tehama Ranch where cell service is spotty.
“I fear that I will know or have met somebody that is on that list and I feel for everyone that is impacted by this,” Patrick Fernea said.
CBS13’s Steve Large asked them what it was like seeing their names on the list.
“That’s a stark reminder of how close you came to not surviving this fire,” Large said.
“Yes, it’s very scary,” Patrick Fernea said. “And when I saw my name on there I tried to call the hotline numbers and contact anyone I could.”
Nicolas Fernea said people from his past he thought had long forgotten him have called worried about his well-being.
“I had old teachers, I graduated from Ridgeview High School, and they actually saw my name on the list and reached out and I want to thank them, Mr. Newton and Ms. Martinez,” Nicholas Fernea said. “It means a lot.”
Once missing. Now found. The search for the Ferneas can end as the painful process so many other families are facing following the Camp Fire continues.
“I know there are people watching this or hearing this that they don’t know where their loved ones are,” Patrick Fernea said. “And I can only imagine — scary.”