PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the words of a survivor of the wildfire overrunning parts of California: “It’s a process of fear and paranoia, you felt like the fire was chasing you.”
Tim Bodell says a restless night last week in his Santa Rosa, California home was the beginning of an agonizing, fear-filled race from the flames for his family.
“From the moment we realize we were in trouble, we had about three minutes to get out,” Bodell said.
An Ardmore native, a 96 graduate of Saint Joe’s Prep–Bodell said before he had the chance to react, the inferno had steered into his neighborhood.
“We saw my neighbor’s house completely engulfed in flames, everything was burning so hot. There was so much smoke you couldn’t see three feet in front of your house. It was just raining fire.”
More than 40 people are dead from the wildfires which have devastated parts of California, wiped out entire communities and valleys have been choked with toxic smoke.
The Bodells made it to safety, with little else.
“One of our vehicles, which is how we escaped, my wife and son and the clothes on our back,” he said.
The family of three spent the last week staying friends. They were evacuated two more times from friends’ homes. And in the last 24 hours they’ve now settled into an apartment.
“We are safe, it’s just a mattress on the ground, but you know it’s at home,” said Bodell.
The Bodells spent Tuesday shopping for furniture, hoping for some stability in what has been a chaotic and frustrating ten days.
Family and friends have launched a GoFund Me page which can be found HERE.