As they worked this week to save lives, firefighters and police officers in the Northern California town of Paradise worried whether their own homes would survive the fire. For many, the unfortunate answer is no.
The massive wind-whipped fire that roared through mountain towns and hamlets on Thursday appears to have spared little, including homes owned by Cal Fire crews, Paradise police officers, and Butte County sheriff's deputies, reports the Sacramento Bee.
Paradise Mayor Jody Jones confirmed on Sunday that 17 Paradise police officers lost their homes in the Thursday inferno. Butte Sheriff Kory Honea estimated about 30 members of his department have lost their homes, too. Chico officials say eight of their police department employees also lost their homes. "Everybody has a story to tell," he said.
Butte College Police Chief Casey Carlson worked for 48 hours straight at the emergency command post, figuring—correctly, as it turned out—that his home of 10 years was gone too. Three members of his staff lost their homes as well.
Sheriff Honea did not lose his home, he said. But the fire caused him some moments of personal worry. His daughter, Kassidy Honea, is a rookie Paradise police officer. She and he were directing evacuee traffic in Paradise Thursday when he got an emergency call and had to leave. He hugged his daughter and said, "Kiddo, I love you," before heading off.