Mother, Son Who Refused to Leave Paradise Survived Camp Fire, and Their Home Is the Only One Left on Their Block

It’s been almost a month since the Camp Fire tore through Paradise, destroying thousands of homes and buildings.

Despite mandatory evacuation orders, some people, like Brad Weldon and his mother, refused to leave.

"Just about everybody lost everything. Gone, everything burnt up," Brad Weldon told KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento.

Almost a month after flames tore through Paradise, Weldon and his mother, Norma, are still living in their home — the last one left on their block.

"When we told her the fire was coming she said, 'I ain’t leaving. Let me burn,'" Brad said.

Fighting the flames with a garden hose and buckets of pool water, he was able to save his home and his mother. He says it took a little help from above.

"My wife, she passed three years ago," he told KTXL. "Her angel was there."

After the fire passed, they again refused to leave their home, despite the widespread destruction that now surrounds them.

The Weldons' area was still under an evacuation order Tuesday, so if they leave town they won’t be allowed back in. For almost a month now, they’ve been surviving off of stored food and power from their generator.

Brad’s even worked out running water by pumping water from his pool.

"The pump sucks the water out of the pool, runs it through the hose, which goes over and reverses and hooks back into the plumbing," he said.

Brad said his mom engrained in him the practice of preparing for the worst.

"My mother taught me, 'Take care of things. Be prepared. Have food, have shelter, have water. Take care of your stuff,'" he said.

But as days turn into months, he’s relying on firefighters to bring him supplies, as well as on other neighbors who have been able to sneak through roadblocks. He calls them "the underground."

"Fuel shows up all the time on the underground," Brad said.

They are hoping evacuation orders will be lifted in their area soon, but the Butte County Sheriff’s Office has yet to release a timeline. So, the family said they rely on faith they’ll make it through, knowing they have each other to lean on.

"She’s everything to me. I’m going to take care of her 'til she dies," Brad said of Norma. "She’s fine, I'm fine. The house is fine, the dogs are fine. I don’t see why we can’t just go on living a normal life."

Brad is hoping his neighbors will come back and help rebuild the town. But no matter what, Paradise is home and he’s not leaving, he said.

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