CHICO (CBS13) — Thousands of evacuees are wondering what happens next after the Camp Fire. Many went looking for answers at the newly opened disaster recovery center inside the Chico Mall.
It’s a one-stop shop where Camp Fire evacuees can get what they need in terms of financial assistance, counseling, and other types of support.
The center provides a little light during a dark time on what will be a long road to recovery.
Kelly Winslow leaned on the back of her truck as she described her cargo: “We got four dogs and two rats and we both have compromised immune systems. I have MS.”
Help can’t come fast enough for Kelly Winslow and her roommate who have been sleeping in their truck since the Camp Fire started.
“We were in Red Bluff and then Corning so I could get medication,” said Winslow.
Thousands of evacuees are in the same boat, hoping aid from the federal government will keep them afloat.
FEMA said they are focused on getting evacuees registered first. Over 1000 evacuees came to the newly opened disaster recovery center inside the Chico Mall Friday.
Joanna Garcia from FEMA said, “We have the DMV, vital records and state vital records.”
Evacuees could get a new ID, a house deed or apply for a FEMA grant or SBA loan at the center.
“It took about 4-5 hours to get in and out,” said a young couple holding a toddler.
Jennifer Shaw said, “It was a little crazy but good. People were very polite and helpful.“
Shaw hopes authorities calculate the road to recovery better, especially when it comes to evacuation routes.
“We need to do that math and build it right or people aren’t going to come back,” Shaw said.
Inside the center, the Butte County sheriff had a table where people searching for loved ones could give a DNA sample which will be used to match with DNA from human remains found in the wake of the fire.
The center will be open from 9 AM-7PM daily.