The day started out like any other beautiful day in paradise or so I thought it would be. I woke at 7:45 a.m. my wife was in Sacramento working, it was me my daughter and the animals at the house. I had just been put in a boot from surgery on my foot 2 days prior. Woke up to let my daughter go watch TV and eat cereal and I went to the bathroom.
Just like any other day I got on Facebook and to my surprise I saw that there was a fire posted in Pulga canyon just like all of the others through the summer, I thought nothing of it so I kept scrolling and not even three minutes later another post-FIRE!!!  This post, red evacuation ordered for Pentz Road, me living on sesame Street knowing that Olga canyon and Pentz road, I was in the direct middle. I hobbled outside and to my surprise as soon as I opened the door my world was turned upside down when I saw the smoke Ash and debris falling from the sky and pouring into my yard. Unfortunately my neighborhood was hit first and we had no warning. The fire trucks hadn’t even been out yet. As soon as I saw the smoke, I ran inside as best as I could run, dropped my crutches, grab my daughter, my insulin, my dog and my cat and I put them all in a red wagon and I ran for my life as best as I could in a cast. My driveway which was 200 feet long roughly was covered in smoke by the time we were down at the end. We contacted the police officer who was in the process of knocking on my neighbor’s door, who unfortunately did not make it, to let him know that he needed to leave. He really should have listened, if he had, he would still be here. The police officer informed me that he still needed to go door-to-door to let people know that there’s a fire and that I needed to get into any vehicle and get out. Thank God for my neighbors who lived at the corner of Dean road and Sesame Street for if not for them we would not be alive today.  Their sixteen-year-old daughter drove my family and I to safety. I thank God everyday that she grew up in that town and knew the back roads. On our departure from our neighborhood everything was on fire it was chaos. When we hit Pentz Road it was utter chaos. Cars were backed into each other, stuck along the road. She finally made it to Wagstaff where we started cutting through neighborhoods. We got stuck at a stop sign where the cemetery is and luckily a man in a giant truck drove up next to us on the side. He yelled, the fire is right there and at that point we both knew in the car that the laws did not matter, we needed to get out of Paradise. I yelled to the driver, being that I was in the backseat, follow that man as he was driving on the side of the road through yards she did so and him and her saved us.  We went head-on towards police officers and oncoming traffic. We were driving around accidents, through yards, fences, grass wherever we could go to get away. After what seemed like about 2 hours of driving in a town that usually takes about 20 minutes to leave, we finally got to skyway and Neal Road and were able to get in the long procession of line of cars down the mountain. The things I saw that day will live with me for the rest of my life. All I can say is, I’m glad that my family is safe. The hell that I witnessed is behind us and all we can do is move forward. Butte strong.

Charles