As 'Wall Fire' evacuees start to return home, some have no home left

A wildfire that ignited five miles north of Bangor in Butte County Friday has spread to 5,600 acres and has prompted fire officials to issue evacuation warnings and orders for the Oroville area.

As a massive wildfire in Butte County grows to 40% containment on Monday night, some mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted

At the Church of the Nazarene evacuation center in Oroville, dozens of people are still waiting to go home. Some, however, no longer have a home to go. Josh Cornelison knows he’s one of those people.

“I got a phone call telling me ‘You know your hill’s on fire right?’” Cornelison said. “There’s absolutely nothing left.”

Cornelison said he heard of the news from an uncle who lived nearby on Maple Lane. He saw what was left of his home from a cell phone video sent to him, but the video is quick and shaky. He still has yet to return home and see what the damage looks like in person.

“I can start over from scratch,” said Cornelison. “But I put my everything into it over the years. That’s the hard part.”

From building his home, to painting it, to repairs, Cornelison said all his energy went into making a home for he and his two children.

“I brought my kids home here,” said Cornelison. “That’s where they came from the hospital.”

Cornelison’s fiance Sharon is his only bright light in this moment of absolutely darkness. Even though he has been crying for the loss, Sharon has been able to find ways to make him laugh.

Cornelison wasn’t allowed back yet because he was still under mandatory evacuation as of Monday night. Neighbors in the area said there are eight homes on the road. More than half of them are gone.

“I praise God I’m still alive,” said Cornelison. “We have a chance to rebuild.”

But still, what has happened is hard to take in.

“I don’t even know what to go back to,” said Cornelison. “I’m not even in a hurry to go back.”

When Cornelison was showed more videos and images, he said he felt knowing was worse than not knowing.

“Not knowing, we’re hoping. Until we get there,” said Cornelison. “But now, I’m over it. Not over it, over it. But there’s just not much I can do.”

Cornelison hopes his community will help his family through GoFundMe.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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