Cape Coral woman feels terror as her family survives Paradise fires

Sue Akers called from Paradise to give her daughter a final goodbye.

“Its on fire, its on fire,” Akers said. “I’m stuck. I can’t get out. It’s on fire!”

The pain, horridly close. Cassie Soler said she felt trapped in Cape Coral, as she was unable to do anything for her mom, sister, nephews and brother-in-law in Paradise, California.

The Camp Fire ignited on Nov. 8 in nearby town Pulga. But it soon spread to Paradise, a city with about 27,000 residents within the larger Butte County.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said there have been 85 deaths from the Camp Fire, the most destructive and deadliest in California history.

With her family trying to escape the fierce flames 3,000 miles away, Soler felt frozen.

“There’s no words to put anywhere on the feeling of it for your family being there,” Soler said.

But her mother, a survivor, can put it to words.

“Well I thought it was my goodbye call to my kids,” Akers said, with tears trickling down from her eyes. “It was frightening.”

When they found out Soler’s nephews and sister survived, emotions were just as intense.

A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, California, on Thursday, Nov. 8. Photo via Noah Berger/AP.
A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, California, on Thursday, Nov. 8. Photo via Noah Berger/AP.

“I could hear them in the back, you know talking about the fire,” Akers said. “They were obviously very afraid and very scared. But they made it down, too.”

But there are no homes, jobs or schools for their family to return.

“My first job just burnt up; the area where I had my first kiss burnt up, like everything in little pieces,” Soler said. “The grocery store, gone. Just everything.”

Cape Coral will be their home in the meantime, Solar said, where hugs and smiles are close by.

“You have to have a lot of humor and be real soft with each other during this time,” Soler said. “I don’t know what our future holds.”

If you would like to support Soler’s family in California, you can visit the Adlam family’s GoFundMe page to make a donation. Ceara Adlam is Soler’s sister.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Michael Mora
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