Camp Fire Story II: Magalia couple flee their home to seek safety on Chico’s streets


While some Magalia homes off of Skyway Road were burnt down, many homes like this one were spared. Photo credit: Alex Grant

In part two of our ongoing series, Maggie Crowder and Michael Crowder spoke about their evacuation from the small foothill town of Magalia during the hours after reports of the Campfire had started coming from Paradise. Michael told about his harrowing escape on his motorcycle, feeling the embers and still burning ash from the Campfire hitting his cheek as sped down the hill.

The couple ended their escape in a small grassy area aside the Walmart parking lot where this recording takes place. A small tent city was erected there with other evacuees from the fire, and volunteers workers helping to get their needs met.

The couple’s house still stands, and despite living in a tent still feel lucky. Michael broke down into tears more than once recounting tales of kindness from random community members, from free tents, free meals and free clothes, to even a stranger stuffing $60 into his pocket to help out.

This is their story.

*Alex Grant, Ricardo Tovar, Olyvia Simpson and Christian Solis also reported and contributed to this story*

Josh Cozine, Alex Grant, Ricardo Tovar, Olyvia Simpson and Christian Solis can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.