PARADISE, Calif. -- As the Camp Fire burned through the small town of Yankee Hill, Clifford Nimz said he was hosing down his home in hopes of saving it.
Nimz, who is 90-years-old, says he soon realized that he would have to leave or risk losing his life.
“I had fire all around me, just a hundred feet high,” Nimz said after reaching safety. “And the wind blowing hard and I could hear propane tanks blowing up all around the place. I thought 'Well, it’s over.'"
Nimz said he tried to start his truck and leave, but it wouldn’t turn over. So he said he coasted the truck down a hill as far as it would go, before setting out on foot. Armed with a wet wash cloth to cover his face and the clothes on his back, Nimz says he walked about 10 blocks before finding a firefighter who helped him to safety.
“I had to lay down on the road a few times and let the fire blow over me,” recalled Nimz.
Family members who lived nearby said they thought he had already left. It wasn’t until 12 hours later that Nimz reached an American Red Cross Shelter set up for evacuees in Oroville.
That confusion and chaos has been felt by many in the area who were forced to flee their homes in just moments. Officials say many people are still unaccounted for and families are awaiting anxiously to get in touch with their loved ones they were separated from.
Continue the conversation with Giacomo on Facebook.