Silverdale family's relatives barely escape California wildfire
SILVERDALE, Wash. -- Silverdale family was waiting anxiously to hear from loved ones in Paradise, California. The family was forced to leave with only the clothes on their backs as a raging wildfire ripped through the town.
Watching the explosive inferno obliterate the town of Paradise, California meant waiting in agony for Carol Mathis and Stephanie Martin.
Their 23-year-old son and grandson Devin Witham lives there and he barely escaped the furious Camp Fire.
"As you're watching, you're like, ‘wow those poor people,’'’ said Carol Mathis. “But then you're like, ‘that's my family there.'"
Devin and his family in Paradise, California were ordered to evacuate as the wind fueled flames surrounded families driving down the highway to safety.
"What if they wouldn't have made it out? They would have been gone,” said Mathis. “They had no time. It was get out."
"It was heart-wrenching and scary and he's so stressed out,” said Devin’s grandmother Stephanie Martin.
Officials said thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed, but they don't have an exact count, because it's still not safe to check the damage.
They think Devin lost his first home which he just bought two years ago. But when they all see the flames engulfing the town, that's not as important.
"The material things, you didn't hear that in the background,” said Martin. “When I was talking to my grandson, I just heard people say, ‘Oh my God, I'm so excited to see you, I'm so happy you're well.’ They just cared about being there safe."
The family in Paradise will sleep in a hotel for now. There's no telling when they can go back and see the damage.