Rebuilding begins in Paradise 6 months after devastating Camp Fire

PARADISE, Calif. (KGO) -- The last time we left fire-flattened Paradise, we saw a sign on the way out of town. It read, "Dead End."

If you're the kind of person who believes whatever he reads, then you might accept such a scene as the end of this story. But you haven't spent the last six months here.

"We are very happy to come out to our property and not have to see what we have lost," said Alaina Murray. On Tuesday, she and her husband, Scott, sat on the back of a pick-up truck, watching workmen clear the last of their destroyed home from the property. It's the first on Fern Lane.

"Is that progress?" we asked.


Progress in a region with so much more left to do -- 18,000 structures burned here. Eighty-six people died.

The reminders are everywhere.

Heavy trucks carrying debris fill the air with noise and dust.

FEMA says they make a combined 1,000 trips a day.

Rob Harmon drives one of them. He's a local who lost his house.

"We have cleaned up 1,400 of 14,000 lots," he said.

It's staggering.


So when a local business re-opens, that's cause for celebration.

Meehos Mexican Restaurant did it by purchasing a food truck after benzene pollution in the water supply rendered the building unusable.

"They said anything from six months to a year or so," said Adi Riley. Her father owns the business.

Now at Meehos, customers take their plates from the truck and eat on the patio.

It's almost like old times, they say. The new ones may take awhile.

But at least the dead-end attitude around here is long gone.

"We're just going to look to the future and hope for the best," said Alaina to Scott, back on Fern Lane.

"You're the cheerleader?" I asked.

"I am."

Paradise has more than a few of them.

That said, this region has a long way to go. With most of the population gone, businesses are suffering and facing an uncertain future.

On Tuesday, Mayor Jodi Jones told us that in a recent poll, 51 percent of the fire victims intend to move back.

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