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Recently, a campfire started in Paradise, California, a town located in the northern region of the state. It is estimated around 42 persons have died so far. Local Greg Woodcox who survived the fire is still in shock.
Woodcox tried to get as many people to evacuate the town including his paraplegic friend and friend’s mother who were a little bit hesitant. Woodcox shared a video with his nephew, Matthew Strausbaugh asking him to upload it on YouTube. The video had graphic content of the deadly scene the fire left, he made the video after the death of his friend.
He hoped that the video would make more persons evacuate the other towns the fire was gradually approaching and that lives would be saved. Strausbaugh shares the hope that his uncle has, as he was quoted saying that even if the video saved one life, then they have done a good job.
With over hundreds of thousands of views, the video has had its fair share of criticism. However, fire officials are sharing the video’s message with the public which is: be alert, be ready, and when evacuation orders come, get out.
On the Thursday when the fire got to Paradise, Woodcox tried escaping the fire with his friend, friend’s mother and his dogs in his Jeep. With their path blocked, Woodcox had gotten down from his Jeep and tried to open a metal gate, just about then, the cars behind him was engulfed by the fire. Woodcox then ran behind a fleeing fox to a ditch that had a creek, there he hid. 45 minutes later, the fire passed over him not without burning his clothes and back.
“He said it was so loud, it sounded like a freight train,” Strausbaugh said on how his uncle felt while the fire passed over him. “That’s what really stuck with him.”
Getting back to where he left his Jeep, he met a trail of death caused by the fire. Though his dogs were safe, the blackened shells he saw left him feeling awful. According to his nephew, Woodcox thought he was unlucky to not have died.
The campfire, however, continues to ravage more towns with tens of thousands of persons currently homeless. The 117,000-acre blaze has destroyed 7,000 structures, including about 6,500 homes.
Strausbaugh who lives in Chico, California has taken in several homeless friends. He also volunteers to provide security at a shelter close to him. Along with his motorcycle club, fire evacuees in his neighborhood has received hygiene supplies though Strausbaugh is getting other bikers to join them soon.
According to him, listening to the evacuees’ loss and hugging them is all he can do most times. They are devastated and so is his uncle, Woodcox who’s broke, homeless and with COPD (a lung disease) that was worsened by the smoke.
The cause of the campfire is still undetermined but Woodcox thinks the culprit is the utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The state is investigating this claim to ascertain if it was truly caused by malfunctioning utility equipment.