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Finding Missing People in Paradise, California

Newswatch 12's Rachel Tiede is with Oregon teams searching destroyed and damaged homes for missing people.

Posted: Nov. 18, 2018 10:55 AM
Updated: Nov. 19, 2018 12:26 AM

PARADISE, Calif. -- Oregon teams went door-to-door or sometimes driveway to driveway when those doors no longer exist searching destroyed and damaged homes.

"The families need closure," Michael Maynard a lieutenant with Lebanon Fire District said. 

Maynard didn't think he'd ever be doing work like this. He and his team are searching damaged homes, looking for human remains, hoping to bring answers to the people who live here.

"It's grim I mean when they started talking about hundreds of people missing and we've never done anything like this," Maynard said.  "It was kind of turning over every rock hoping to find something, but not hoping to find something you know?"

It's hard work; crews go to every address. They pull back tin roofs to see if anyone tried to hide underneath in their last moments.

Maynard said if a person wasn't sheltered by something there's likely little left. The fire was so hot the bodies would've been cremated.

"Most of us will go our entire career and never see a burned body. Maynard said. "We just don't have that many fires and to come here with the potential to see hundreds if you're in the right position -- it's crazy."

That doesn't deter them as they move door to door, street by street. Because it's about finding closure and healing for the folks that call this now badly wounded town home.

"[It's the] gratification and the satisfaction that we came here made a difference because I feel we did," Maynard said. "Every day that we were here we went through a house, and every house that we went was closure for somebody and that gives all of us the reason to be here."

As of the latest update there are about 1,300 people still missing and 76 confirmed dead.

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