'Angels were here to watch us': Man and his mother survive California wildfire
Published Wednesday, November 14, 2018 10:00PM EST
In the ruins of Paradise, Calif., much of the homes are gone.
More than 7,000 buildings were destroyed by the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California’s history. Many of the 52,000 residents forced to flee will not have anything left to come back to.
But the house of 63-year-old Brad Weldon still stands.
Instead of fleeing the blaze, Weldon and his mother chose to stay, and somehow they survived along with their home.
“My mom said, ‘Nuh-uh, I ain’t leaving.’ She’s 90 years old and blind,” Weldon told CTV News. “She said, ‘I ain’t going anywhere. Leave me here, I’ll burn up.’”
Refusing to leave her behind, Weldon got to work hosing down the home, trying to save their property and their lives.
He says he didn’t even have time to think, working as he watched the fire coming through the trees towards the house.
At moments, the flames came so close that Weldon laid down on the ground and turned the hose on himself – just hoping that the water would be enough to keep him alive.
Weldon says that with a change of wind, and “angels here to watch us,” he and his mother escaped death.
The fire has killed at least 50 people. More than 100 others are missing -- all of them from Paradise.
Although Weldon and his mother no longer have water or electricity, Weldon says he’s rigged up a pump to supply the house with water from their swimming pool.
While there’s still work to be done to fix their home, Weldon already has his sights set on a bigger project – rebuilding Paradise.
“This is a beautiful community,” Weldon said. “People are very strong, very loving. And we’ll put it back together.”
With a report from CTV’s Vancouver Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy