Roy Gilbert

As Paradise rebuilds, a divide over safety a year after fire

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FILE – In this Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, file photo, residences leveled by the wildfire line a neighborhood in Paradise, Calif. Northern California crews battling the country’s deadliest wildfire in a century were bracing for strong winds Sunday, Nov. 18, that could erode gains they have made in containing the fearsome blaze, which has killed dozens and leveled a town. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — There was “no way in hell” Victoria Sinclaire was rebuilding in Paradise.

She’d thought she was going to die during the six hours it took her to escape the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The town where she’d raised her family was nearly wiped out, two of her three cats had disappeared into the flames, and she “was done.”

Sinclaire and tens of thousands of others in nearby communities fled the wind-whipped inferno that killed 85 people and incinerated roughly 19,000 homes, businesses and other buildings on Nov. 8, 2018.

Despite her vow to stay away, Sinclaire’s family was one of the first to rebuild, braving the enduring threat of wildfires, and now, repeated power outages as the nation’s largest utility tries to prevent its equipment from sparking blazes on windy days like it did in Paradise a year ago.

Weeks after the fire, Sinclaire had an epiphany when she returned to the ruins of her home, where she raised a daughter and nearly two dozen foster children over eight years. Even rescue groups eventually found her two missing cats.

“There was a […]

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