#DEVELOPING Southern California businessman Bob Wilson explains why he flew to Chico to give $1000 checks to students and staff at #Paradise high. “High school was the most carefree time of my life...” #Campfire #abc7now pic.twitter.com/4OxbfOsd8N— Laura Anthony (@LauraAnthony7) November 27, 2018
"These are the checks that are going to the students," said Wilson, as he opened one of the suitcases. "I just wanted, if I could do anything to put a smile on their face, take their minds off what happened for a short period of time."
Paradise Principal Loren Lighthaul says the school still standing, but more than 90 percent of the students and staff lost their homes.
Wilson's personal gift, all $1.1 million of it, will be a big help.
"A lot of the kids will just turn the checks over to their families," said Lighthaul, "For basic essential items like food and gas."
In Paradise, ABC7 News caught up with California OES Director Mark Ghillarducci as he toured the burn area in the rain, an area that will require an unprecedented cleanup effort.
The amount of debris from the campfire could well exceed 6 million tons, at least three times greater than from all of last year's North Bay fires.
#OnlyOnABC7News One on one with @CalOES_Dir as he tours #CampFire destruction about what it’s going to take to cleanup...and begin the recovery process after a disaster like none his state has ever seen before. #abc7now #paradise pic.twitter.com/6JOzayp5d7— Laura Anthony (@LauraAnthony7) November 27, 2018
"It really is 360 degrees of destruction," explained Ghillarducci. "These are businesses and homes that are 100 percent destroyed, infrastructure lost, roads damaged."
The cleanup will begin with hazmat removal, hopefully in the next few weeks.
In Chico, one burned out family just worries about where they will sleep tonight.
They are among 81 evacuees who had to move out of the Neighborhood Church in Chico, as the Red Cross consolidates its shelters to Gridley, about 30 miles away.
"It's been hard. We're the only family that's here," said Canvis Villanueva, as she stood waiting for a cab with her husband and two children, ages 1 and 3. "Hopefully God has something set for us."