GUERNEVILLE, Calif. — Desiree and Christopher Borden are considered lucky. They survived the Camp Fire in November, and unlike so many others, their Paradise home didn't burn to the ground -- even serving as a safe haven for other evacuees.
But the past three months following California's deadliest fire have still been like a living hell.
"You know the saying, 'What doesn't kill you makes your stronger?'" Desiree asked from an Airbnb near Guerneville they've been living in since December. "I said the real saying should be, 'What doesn't kill you costs a lot in therapy to get over.'"
Following the fire, the Bordens, along with their 20-month-old daughter and five dogs, moved into a rental in Gridley. After a month, they had to leave, partly because it sold to other fire survivors and partly because of an e-coli outbreak in the water.
"We were violently ill the whole time living there, but we thought it was just from stress," she explained.
Since then, they've been living in that Airbnb. Their Paradise home is still not safe to live in.
"We are still needing to put a fence around our property because of our five dogs. The fence melted down," Desiree said. "We've been having a really hard time finding a fence contractor. Everybody is completely slammed."
There's also a fear of leftover toxins and other hazardous materials. Only this week did a team of roughly 20 professional cleaners start the grueling process of sanitizing the home.
"They're power washing the outside. They are scrubbing the walls inside and out, so it's a very thorough cleaning," Desiree explained. "That's the only way I would feel safe bringing a toddler."
The constant moving, the e-coli, insurance hassles and overall stress from losing a community they love, has taken not only an emotional toll on Desiree, but she believes, a physical one. Last month, she miscarried.
"My husband and I had been trying to have another baby because Paradise was where we decided to relocate and put out roots down and build a family," she said. "I did end up having a miscarriage. Whether it was from the stress or not, you know my doctor told me not to think that, but a part of me been through so much in such a short amount of time."
Three months of so much uncertainty, and so much pain. And she knows she's not the only one.
"Every little thing is so hard," she said. "We are so ready to have a piece of normalcy back. A piece of home. We miss it. We miss our lives."
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When the Camp Fire ignited, it started a chain of events that allowed it to become the deadliest wildfire in California history. There was no plan to handle an evacuation on this scale, and it lead to more than 80 deaths.