Camp Fire: RV is all Paradise couple has left after deadly fire

PARADISE, Calif. (KGO) -- One couple with a home in Paradise bought an RV recently, and after the Camp Fire devastated their community, that RV is all they have left.

They don't know whether to feel grateful or sad. At best, for John Mitchell and his wife, Geannie, it's a mix.

"It would be fun if I were camping," said Geannie, looking around their 1992 motor home.

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It is parked, not in a campground but in the corner of a parking lot behind an office. This is what happens when a perfect storm of bad circumstance rains down on the best intentions.

"Three nights a week. It would have been fun," said John. It has not worked out that way.

John, Geannie, and Geannie's mother had bought homes in Paradise to beat the high prices of Bay Area real estate.

They were was big enough for friends, family, and retirement.

"It was such a nice house we could get so much more there for a fraction of what we pay here," said John.

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When they bought the RV a month and a half ago, they planned to use the RV to vacation and during the transition Paradise. Then, the fires hit.

"Whoever heard of 10,000 houses being lost?" asked John.

They haven't been up, yet, to survey the damage. When anyone approaches the subject of their house, tears well up in Geannie's eyes.

Never say to her, "It's just stuff."

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"Worst thing you can say," she told us. "That it's just stuff. It was my stuff."

The house held memories, dreams. They still have their wedding pictures and a few others, but, "It is an amazing loss of self who you are and we are. Your memories make you who you were and it is hard to swallow," she said.

Geannie's mother has no insurance and little hope for rebuilding.

John and Geannie do. But until then, they will make new memories in a home, on the road, in a parking lot, in limbo, and lucky, they say, to have that.

"It does beat a tent, absolutely. I am grateful for that," said Geannie.

See more stories, photos and videos on the Camp Fire in Butte County.

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