Camp Fire survivors talk about escaping massive wildfire

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Many are now calling evacuation shelters home after escaping the Camp Fire in Northern California. (KGO-TV)

Jackie Tale, 60, was at home recovering-- still weak from two chest surgeries when warning to evacuate came. Her only option, she would have to drive her own car if she wanted to stay alive.

"It was hard, it was terrifying to see the smoke and flames in our rearview mirror."

RELATED: MAPS: A look at the Camp Fire in Butte County and other California fires

Tale says she had 20 minutes to grab her stuff and get out. Her grandson was in the car behind her helping to navigate by cell phone.

"There were cars behind us burning up and we just keep going and kept going."

Meanwhile, her other grandson, Kevin Smith, was at UC Davis for his daughter's doctor appointment. He rushed home after learning of the fire-- frantic not knowing where she was.

"Couldn't find them for maybe three or four hours. There was no cell service."

RELATED: Camp Fire survivors still trying to connect with loved ones

Tale is now recovering at Butte County Fairgrounds. Happy to be with family after losing just about everything else.

"I lived in my home for 20 years. My husband died there, in my arms, in bed, and it's all gone. Everything," Tale said. "It took everything. All my memories. All of our pictures."

But Tale smiled as she looked at her granddaughter and said, "Well, yeah, because we are all together. And we are safe."

Amanada McSweeney and her family are also safe after spending eight hours trying to rescue their daughters.

RELATED: Camp Fire in Butte County grows to 111,000 acres with 25 percent containment

"I was freaking out, anxiety. I was really depressed. I was really concerned about my kids. I didn't care about my house"

Amanda was in the hospital. Her fiancé, Jacod Student, was in court in Chico. Their daughters were at home with a babysitter. The two raced home-- forced to break through a police barrier-- knowing the risk involved.

"We pulled up on Highway 32 and the (police said) no we can't (pass), and I pretty much told them, 'You're going to move the cone, or I'm going through," said Student. "A two-year-old and a three-month-old. There was no power (electricity). Yeah, I was getting up there, regardless."

The Butte County Fairgrounds evacuation center was restocked by the Salvation Army, but those supplies will only last a few days.

The Salvation Army says they are in great need of supplies and donations. To find out what they and how to help go to this page.

See more stories, photos and videos on the Camp Fire in Butte County.
Related Topics:
Camp Firewildfirefirebrush firesmokecal fireNorthern California
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