PARADISE (CBS13) — Rob Harrison was one of many evacuees allowed to return to Paradise for the first time Tuesday. He was shocked to see his dream home, now a nightmare, reduced to a pile of rubble.
Two weeks ago, he had one of the best views in Butte County.
“I took so many pictures of that, sending it to all my friends,” he said.
Now he’s one of the thousands in Paradise surrounded by blackened hilltops and ruins. Everything is gone, with the exception of a dolly and a shed full his plumbing tools.
“Yesterday at Lowe’s I bought a crimping tool not knowing if that thing was there. And Lowe’s, I’m gonna return the crimping tool slightly used!” he joked.
It made his day. Until he began digging through the rubble for his wife’s gold wedding ring. The couple searched high and low and couldn’t find the ring.
But his wife did find something, almost as sentimental.
“My wife just walked up and said ‘Jeez Rob, that’s what the wedding ring was sitting in,’” he said.
They’ll keep the ring holder. And the memories. Because somewhere in that ash, are pictures and videotapes of his kids when they were just three-years-old.
“I gathered up the wrong belongings. Sleeping bags and the pillows,” he said.
But Harrison says what truly matters now is that they got out with their lives.
When asked if he plans to rebuild, Harrison said, “Absolutely! Well, look at the view!”