PARADISE (CBS13) — Now that mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted, residents are returning to Paradise along with cleanup crews and other utility companies. Food trucks have been feeding them, but a few stores that reopened recently are a welcome addition.
Hundreds of businesses in the area have been virtually untouched since the fire started on November 8. But signs of hope, like at the Auto Zone which has re-opened for business, show the beginnings of rebuilding in Paradise
Andes Cisneros, 25, works at the Auto Zone.
“It’s a good feeling knowing we are here to help the community,” he said as he rang up customers.
He lost his home in the Camp Fire but found comfort returning to work when the store reopened.
“It’s tough like I keep telling customers, we are all in this together,” said Cisneros.
He has been living in a fifth wheel at a friends house in Durham. The commute is long, but he says it’s worth it.
“Opening the doors helped me get my mind right and be able to focus on what’s next,” he said.
He isn’t the only one commuting to a job in Paradise.
Peter Givens has been driving up from the Chico hotel where he is staying with his seven-person family to work and shop at the Save Mart.
“It feels good to be back to just a little bit of normal,” said Peter Givens.
“Our customers adore us and we adore them back —there has been lots of hugs, said Store manager Paul Azevedo.
Azevedo said 50 out of the 79 employees’ homes were destroyed by the fire. When the store reopened nearly 2 months later, the staff was smaller, but they got a big welcome.
“It’s good to see them. I am glad there is still something here,” said Bob Casey with a laugh.
The store manager says this Save Mart is serving as a beacon for crews who start their days in the store, picking up food for the day.