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Local First Responders Share Story Of Survival From Camp Fire

TUSTIN (CBSLA) — The devastating and deadly Camp Fire up near Chico is now fully contained and we're now learning about an incredible story of survival.

That story comes from some of our first responders who recently returned from helping up in the burn area that consumed Paradise.

CBSLA Orange County reporter Michele Gile says that they found an elderly man and his caregiver alive after everything around them burned.

Cinder, an Orange County Sheriff's Department human remains detection dog, and her handler Reserve Capt. Chuck Williams have just come home from a mission in the town that was Paradise.

What they discovered beyond the piles and piles of ashes, Williams said, was miraculous.

"We get to the address. We're looking around. There are houses all around but they are all destroyed. There's nothing standing," said Williams.

"A firefighter walked down the hill and says 'I see a cabin with smoke coming out of the chimney' and we were like 'huh. That's strange,' " Williams continued.

The search team was made up of sheriff's deputies, K-9s, firefighters and the National Guard.

"Ultimately what we found was a 91-year-old male suffering from dementia and his caregiver. The gist of their story was they couldn't get out. They hunkered down in their house. If the house goes we go and they stayed there and out of everything that house survived.

It had been at least a week since flames destroyed Paradise. The pair hunkered down, had a fireplace for heat and food and water.

An unexpected find amongst pure devastation.

"Here was that glimmer of hope. That blessing of finding someone who survived. It was truly miraculous," said Williams.


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