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Fire Crews Remember Chaos That Ensued When Camp Fire First Broke Out

PARADISE (CBS13) — As the sun set on Paradise Friday, people remembered the tragedy and triumphs of the last year.

Firefighters are still shaken up over what they saw the day the Camp Fire broke out.

Captain John Gaddie told CBS13 he never saw anything like the conditions that day, which created the perfect storm for chaos — chaos he soon would want to forget.

"If a fire, or a wildland fire, had a checkbox to check on how to create the most devastation, this checked every box," Gaddie said of the devastating Camp Fire.

The Camp Fire would rip through Paradise and several surrounding communities taking 85 lives, including Carol Souza's best friend.

"I think she would love all of this," Souza said of her friend and the town's commemoration of November 8. "She loved this town."

READOne Year After Camp Fire, Paradise Pauses To Remember

Souza along with hundreds of other neighbors went to see plans for the new Hope Plaza — a memorial to remember those who died and those who tried to save them. The town issued nearly 500 building permits and 12 homes have been built in the last year.

Mayor Jody Jones, who lost her home, has been overwhelmed with trying to rebuild her house, her town and working to make sure a scenario like the Camp Fire doesn't happen again.

"We have adopted a pretty strict defensible space ordinance here in town and we are engaged in trying to get rid of all of the dead and dying trees," Jones said.

A government-funded tree removal program is underway as the town looks toward next year's fire season.

"Paradise was always going to be threatened in some capacity but how this lined up that day, I don't think any of us could have imagined what transpired by the end of the day," Gaddie said

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