PARADISE, Calif. — Brick and metal are all that remains of many of the thousands of homes that were destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise. Yet, signs of spring are popping up all around.
Alicia Ramirez works for ServiceMaster Recovery Services. She's been busy cleaning up homes that were damaged by the fire. She was working in a home on Vineyard Drive on Friday.
"There's 14 houses on this court, and of the 14, the homeowners say seven made it and seven didn't," said Ramirez. "So, half their neighborhood is gone."
The evidence of the fickleness of the fire is obvious. The fire snatched houses here and there, sometimes between two other houses that remained standing, seemingly untouched. Still, flowers are blooming, even within the scars of once proud homes.
"You drive through the town, it's a small town," explained Ramirez. "There's hardly anything standing. So, to drive up and see [flowers] like this, it's beautiful."
She's specifically talking about a lush bunch of daffodils that stand near several brick columns of a former home. It's a stark juxtaposition.
Diana Siler is a homeowner who lives across the street. Her house is still standing. However, she and her husband have been living in hotels since the fire.
"Every time I drive into the town, it makes me want to cry," said Siler with tears in her eyes. "I mean this is our beautiful town that has been destroyed. But there is great hope. There is great things that are going on in this community. There's many people who are firmly steadfast working to bring this town back to the town it deserves to be."
Siler explains some things she has noticed are both surprising and melancholic.
"We have a mountain view, which we didn't have before," said Siler. "But the neighbors' houses are gone and the trees are gone."
Siler is hopeful the town of Paradise can come back again. Perhaps it can be even better than before.
"Paradise may be burned, that's obvious," admitted Siler. "But the community, the heart, the ambition, it's all there. And when we come together and we support each other, that's a beautiful thing."
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Paradise in bloom months after Camp Fire