DAN, Paradise, Crossville discussed on TED Radio Hour

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

A cz well This is the California report. Good morning. I'm Lily Jamali here in Northern California. The utility P Genie is out of bankruptcy. Thie company entered into Chapter 11 in January 2019 weeks after the camp fire, which killed 86 people and wiped out much of the town of Paradise. While some of state in the region hoping to rebuild many you're starting over in other places. In January, we told you about researchers at Chico State who have been using postal data to figure out where everybody went. Back then Peter Hanson showed me a map that displayed how people were scattered all over California and the U. S. As we were talking. I asked him this. Hey, what do you think's going on with this intensity? That's very bizarre. There's this one kind of outlier in Tennessee that has I want to say there's 20 people there. So so I don't know what it was about that place, but a lot of people went there. The cluster was in and around Crossville, Tennessee, a town of just 12,000 people. So in March, just before the pandemic prompted everything to shut down. I went there to learn Why some campfire survivors now call the area. This was Dark colored Dan and Sherry Wetland are showing me around their house, which sits on 24 acres in Crossville, unlike their home in Paradise, where they ran a construction business for almost five decades. They didn't build this place, but they love it, And they're already thinking about how to add to it. Starting with the guest room. My wife wants me to put a kitchen at here. They get lots of visitors. The wetlands moved here about a month after the campfire. It is a darling little town a ride into the heart of Crossville. Dan tells me how it happened so quickly. Two days after the fire is paradise was still smoldering. Dan drove in and got a look at the damage. He was once the mayor and saw countless homes, businesses and churches that he and sherry had built over decades destroyed. I just said this will never be my town in my lifetime again. And so I just made that decision were gone. I just said we're leaving. We're not going to stay here. It will never be what we knew again ever so we chose to leave. And then over the next few weeks, we decided on Tennessee flew out to Tennessee found a beautiful home. That became our home. Dan took to Tennessee almost right away. He went to high school here, and his uncle and brother were already living here. But for Sherry, it didn't feel like home until a recent road trip. There was a part of me that still felt like if we come back, is the house going to be there, you know, And then when we were headed home way were both saying, Well, we're going to be glad to get out of the car. Get home. It felt like going home paradise anymore. It was here now. A couple of friends and Sherri's mom and sister have moved to the area to in March. When I visited the wetlands organized a re union of the Para decent Stan calls them. Who now live in and around Crossville for Veda Bouffard. The re union puts her back in touch with people She hasn't seen since the fire prize. Well, what have you been doing? Besides moving to cross Bill? Oh, my God. And for Jessie Arnold, it creates an opportunity to make new friends just unbelievable because I don't know any of these people. It's like, how did you end up here for Bouffard? A big draw was that so many people here are devout. It feels like paradise decades ago when she first arrived. I didn't know anybody in paradise when I moved there, either. But there was a church on every corner instead of a bar on every corner, and I Think the same Tennessee the wetlands, longtime friends Randy and Glenn Harris are also here, Randy says. When it came time to rebuild, they decided their money would go farther in Tennessee. In around paradise, where housing costs skyrocketed after the fire came here to visit our dear friends, and when we saw the price of homes we just couldn't refuse..

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