Paradise Fire Chief says the battle continues after Camp Fire

Posted at 2:42 PM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-20 21:03:23-05

PARADISE, Calif. (KGTV) -- The devastating Camp Fire claimed 88 lives and destroyed thousands of homes.

“We start with a punch list every day and there's usually like 10-15 items on it and we usually get about 5 or 6 done,” said Battalion Chief Curtis Lawrie.

Including filling out insurance papers, getting quotes from contractors. A drastically different new normal.

“The place where you usually set your wallet, your keys, you don't have any of that routine.”

The changes aren’t just affecting adults in town, children are feeling the impact as well.

RELATED: San Diegans bring Christmas spirit to devastated Paradise following Camp Fire

“Computer based schooling for now, until they get their school set in January, which will be over by the airport.”

This Christmas, the Spirit of Liberty Foundation flew from San Diego to personally deliver presents, including donated NFL hats, White House ornaments and stuffed animals from the San Diego Zoo.

While Lawrie says donations are still pouring in, his concern is years down the road.

“They were in very toxic smoke for 24-36 hours without a break and you know that's going to have really bad effects on their physical being.”

Looking back the firefight was emotional for everyone involved. “Two and a half hours into it, we realized it wasn't a fire fight anymore.”

The focus then shifted to saving lives. “There was a period of about four hours where I didn't know if my family made it out.”

Lawrie continued, saying he had to do his job and have faith others were helping as he was. “I'm really thankful that so many people helped each other, and I'd like to say the best part of humanity showed up that day.”

Humanity that continues to give during the holiday season.