PARADISE (CBS13) – Even two years later, the Red Cross continues helping many rebuild their homes and spirits after the devastating Camp Fire. It was such a traumatizing event and some who have yet to move back to their homes may never return.
Forrest Woodcox still has old cell phone video he took as he and his family escaped the flames. It’s the last memory he has of his hometown of Paradise. Woodcox remembers every detail like it was yesterday.
“The sound of propane tanks exploding, cars skirting around because they were panicking,” said Woodcox.
By the time he returned, his childhood home was in ashes and thieves had stripped their vehicle, which was one of the only things they had left.
“They took the front seats, the radio, the steering wheel. Who takes the steering wheel?” said Woodcox.
Nurridin Ziyadinov, executive director of the Northern California Chapter of the Red Cross, said the organization has provided more than $22 million to help more than 9,500 households in Butte County.
“Hundreds of people did not know if their homes were standing and all we could do was tell them the Red Cross was here, your fellow community members were here and here to support,” said Ziyadinov.
The Red Cross awarded more than $10 million dollars in grants to other non-profits in Butte County to help rebuild communities, but it’s a long process.
Around this time last year, Paradise had rebuilt 12 homes. So far this year, they’ve rebuilt more than 400 new homes.
Rebuilding has been immense, and for Woodcox, it’s been almost impossible. He and his family set up their new home 30 miles away in Gridley and they don’t anticipate ever moving back.
” Honestly, it would just be really hard,” Woodcox said. “You know every little blessing something big in the end so the way I see it you’ve got to keep your eyes on what’s ahead of you instead rather than always staying in the past.”