A group of firefighters from Southern California returned home from Paradise Monday morning after days of sifting through the devastation left by the Camp Fire in search of human remains.
By the time the team returned, 85 people have been reported dead in the blaze—the deadliest in state history. The Butte County Sheriff-Coroner's website as of Monday listed nearly 300 individuals still unaccounted for.
The Camp Fire incinerated about 240 square miles after erupting on Nov. 8. It has been fully contained.
The 29-member Regional Task Force Team 4, which includes crews from Glendale, Pasadena, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Arcadia and Alhambra, spent seven days painstakingly scouring more than 1,100 structures, a fraction of the nearly 14,000 homes and 5,000 other buildings destroyed by the flames. They joined the more than 1,000 fire personnel deployed in the Camp Fire.
"You have to try and discern the difference between a human bone and a piece of burned material, and it's a very slow and time-consuming process," team leader David Marquez told KTLA.
AC Brown of the Pasadena Fire Department said the team, which spent Thanksgiving away from their families, did excellent work together.
Firefighters hugged and shook hands when they arrived in their firetrucks at the Rose Bowl Monday morning.
"It’s nice to receive this kind of attention, this welcome home," Marquez said. "But one thing I have to say is there are heroes still up there, still combing through the debris. They still need our support, our thoughts."