Half Moon Bay, CA (KPIX) — More than 80 firefighters lost their homes to the Camp Fire in Butte County, which was just fully contained.
Steve Morris, a Cal Fire apparatus engineer, is one of those firefighters, but he works right here in the Bay Area, a massive commute.
Morris has been a firefighter with Cal Fire for 17 years, but two years ago, he got promoted, which prompted him to transfer to the Moss Beach fire station in Half Moon Bay.
He’s been commuting to the Bay Area from Paradise ever since.
But the morning on which the Camp Fire began, he was in his Paradise home.
“When I first woke up is when I noticed that there was a fire. It looked like sunrise, but it was a pretty decent ominous red glow with some smoke drifting over the town,” said Morris.
Morris has lived in Paradise since he was in third grade, but he never expected such a colossal fire to begin in his home town.
“I didn’t expect to have a fire front that moved through the town that was just as wide as the town,” he said.
When he and his wife Jennifer were evacuating, they grabbed whatever they could and took their two-year-old daughter Kresley with them as they fled out of the door of their home.
Less than an hour later, their home was gone. Morris, who has spent his career helping others, found himself in need of help.
“You kind of get to a point where you kind of realize that, OK, it is what it is, and now we’ve got to figure out something else,” he said.
Firefighters from across San Mateo County pitched in to help Morris and his family. Morris’s coworker and friend James Pfaff started a GoFundMe page that’s already raised more than $12,000.
They’re also holding toy and clothing drives to raise funds for the Morris family. An invite was even extended for the family to temporarily stay in Chico.
“He’s a great person and a great guy. And would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” said Capt. Chip Pickard of Cal Fire San Mateo.
Morris says that he owes it to his fellow firefighters to get back to work at Station 44 in Moss Beach.
“I still don’t believe that I’ve done enough to thank them for the amount of stuff that they’ve done for us. It’s just amazing the amount of love and support that we’ve received,” he said.
Morris won’t be taking any extra time off and will be at his next scheduled shift.
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