With all of the heartbreak witnessed throughout California over the last week, we wanted to share one man’s harrowing story of survival.
Bill Roth, a man who was once homeless and spent four years living in a vehicle, found himself right in the middle of the “Camp Fire” blaze in Paradise, California — a fire that now threatened his new home.
When his Paradise neighbor’s fled the Camp Fire, Roth stayed behind, stood firm, and protected his home for 10 hours with a garden hose and shovel, all while listening to Beethoven on his headphone.
Journalist Michael Anthony Adams shares Roth’s story:
The Camp Fire, which began on November, 8th, has become the deadliest wildfire in California history. California officials said 56 have died in “Camp Fire,” 300 other people are still unaccounted for. The massive fire has destroyed nearly 9,000 homes and forced at least 52,000 people to evacuate.
Many Camp Fire victims didn’t get emergency alerts.
While we understand why Bill did what he did, if you’re ever in a similar situation we recommend leaving as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many of the victims in Northern California never received an emergency alert or an evacuation notice.
At a news conference Tuesday evening, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea defended the county’s use of the emergency alert system during the fire. Honea said the situation was “extraordinarily chaotic and rapidly moving” and it took time for officials to get to the scene, determine the fire’s direction and warn the affected people.
“There were notifications sent out, but as I said over and over again, this fire was moving so rapidly we couldn’t keep ahead of it,” Honea said.
Savannah Rauscher told The Sacramento Bee that by the time she got the 911 alert at 8:30 a.m., embers and dust were already flying around her family’s Edgewood Lane home.
“We saw a wall of fire,” she told the newspaper. “Trees were glowing 50 yards away and it was probably moving like 10 yards every couple minutes. … I had no idea it could be that fast.”
If you’re waiting for the government to issue an evacuation notice, you’re probably already too late!
Being prepared for natural disasters means preparing for the possibility of having to evacuate your home, possibly even your city or state. Here are some resources to help you prepare yourself and your loved ones for future disasters: