Family of Six Texas Transplants with Special Needs Teens Lost Everything in Camp Fire

This CrowdRelief Disaster Survivors Story was created for Scarolet Ellis by Scarolet Ellis who is helping them rebuild their lives. 02/09/2019 9:42 PM

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We are a family of six-- my husband, four teenangers, and I.  Two of them are special needs kids.  We used to live in Paradise, California, in what was called CHIP housing, which is low income housing.  On the day of Nov. 8th, our lives were changed.

A fire broke out and we were told to evacuate from there.  We left with a little bit of stuff with the thought of us being gone only for a few days.  We spent two days in a mass shelter in Oroville, then the smoke got really bad and we went to the Yuba City shelter at the fairgrounds.  There, we spent 11 days.  While there, we filed for FEMA and got approved for transitional housing.  We moved to a hotel in Sacramento on Nov. 20, 2018, and stayed til Jan. 9, 2019.  We are constantly looking for a permanent place to live.  As of right now, we are staying in an apartment in Carmichael, California, trying to buy a house in Barstow, California.  We are hoping to buy it by the end of the month.  If not, we have no idea where we will move too.  

We are living off of SSI with my husband being my IHSS worker.  Money is kind of tight, but we are doing it.  We lost everything that we have built up between two families trying to be one.  We were saving up so my husband can adopt my children and so we can have a real wedding.  My husband was going to make our dresses but he lost all of his material, his patterns, his dress doll, and his sewing machines.  He lost two motorcycles and all of our camping supplies.  The kids loved to fish when we went camping, but we lost all of that.  The kids lost everything-- clothes, games, computers, and shoes.  I lost a lot of stuff, but I don't care what I lost.  I only care about trying to get as much as I can for my kids and my husband.

The kids and I have been through a lot.  We were in paradise hiding from my ex-husband who is serving 110 years in jail now.  When I divorced my ex husband, we barely had anything.  We camped our way from Texas to Paradise in June of 2017.  We started with nothing, and then my husband brought all his stuff out from Texas, which included everything he collected over the years.  He is 55-years-old; that is a lot of stuff.

I am so lost now with everything gone; I lost all my family pictures and can't get them back.  We will take anything anyone would want to give us.  We are trying to buy a trailer to pull behind our SUV for when we move and for when we go camping.  I need two medium to large freezers or one of each, and everything else we lost everything.  My husband had a guitar that was only made for two weeks in the 80's.

My emotional state when people look at me or ask me-- I smile and say I’m fine.  Inside, I am torn all up because I cannot get back the things my husband or kids lost.  I don't care anymore if I get anything; I only want to make them happy and give them what they need and want.  After all, it is my fault we were living there.

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California Camp Fire Disaster Survivor
This person's information has been vetted and approved by the Cajun Navy Foundation.


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Cajun Navy Foundation
10231 The Grove Blvd Unit 37
Baton Rouge, La 70836

California Camp Fire
Recovery Stage
Transition to Housing
Current Housing Situation
Living in an Apartment
Other Factors