PARADISE, CA – One family directly impacted by the wildfires in Northern California is originally from Bettendorf. After seeing the flames and losing everything - they verified that Paradise is paradise no more.
“It was apocalyptic, I mean that’s the only way I could put it,” recalls Adam Kimball.
Kimball was going through his daily routine the day the fire reached his home. His first stop was to drop his daughter off at school, but that quickly turned into a nightmare.
“Everything happened so quick,” Kimball remembers.
On that morning, the power cut out.
“We started hearing explosions,” says Kimball. “I couldn’t tell you what it was – transformers, propane tanks, whatever.”
Kimball made a game decision and grabbed his 11-year-old daughter, knowing it was time to go.
“We didn’t grab anything,” Kimball comments. “I might have been a bit in panic because I didn’t even grab my wallet or a belt or anything.”
They thought they would return, but that thought perished when they started making their way out of Paradise.
“You couldn’t get out of there without driving through it,” says Kimball. “Peoples cars were coming out of there melted.”
According to Kimball, the last family who lived on his road didn’t make it out.
Kimball’s mom and sister (Bettendorf natives who moved to Paradise 15 years ago) had their houses burn to ashes as well. Overall, the entire family would lose three houses and three cars.
They found out about the state of the family’s houses from a neighbor who sent them pictures. The family hasn't seen the damage yet.
But, the family still had something to lift their spirits – Adam’s daughter’s 12th birthday was three days after the fire.
The birthday reminded the family that this nightmare will end sometime soon, and Paradise will rebuild in the future.
For now, the Kimball family is staying in a hotel in Chico, California provided by the insurance company.
They plan on heading back to Paradise soon to see what’s left of their belongings.