Rebuilding starts with restoring power in Paradise

PARADISE, Calif. (KGO) -- It's going to take more than a village to rebuild all that was lost in Paradise and surrounding communities.

"We have about 3,000 employees, contractors and mutual assistant utility worker," explained Paul Moreno, a PG & E spokesman in Butte County.

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There is now an army of PG & E crews and other workers in the Camp Fire zone, supported by a huge base camp-- that has sprung up near Chico.

While some crews clean up all the mangled and burned power lines and debris, others replace miles and miles of lines, trying to get at least some power restored, as quickly as possible.

"We are in the rebuilding phase," said Moreno. "We have restored many customers, especially on the fringes of the fire area and we are working closely with officials in the town area about prioritizing repowering key buildings within the town of Paradise."

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And in downtown Paradise, there are not a lot of buildings left standing.

"There are some little pockets," said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, as he toured the area Tuesday. "I think I've counted maybe 40 or 50 buildings that are still standing."

"Our inventory has burned down, essentially at least 95 percent of it," said Aubrey Pruit, with the Paradise Association of Realtors.

He and other local realtors association have already begun assessing the catastrophic property damage and the stark reality that this market will take decades to recover.

"Now with the inventory in the position that it is burned to the ground," said Pruit, "and having to rebuild, the stigma of this town as you can see. The burning down and the risks of burning down are here."

And once they rebuild it, will the traumatized residents of Paradise even want to return?

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"I would love to go back to Paradise. It was such a lovely town," said Maggie Dwyer, who lost her home in the fire. "I know it will never be the same, but I'm hoping some people will go back."

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