A year ago today, thousands of lives were forever altered. The day began like any other but quickly turned to horror for the people of Paradise, Magalia, and many surrounding towns. In my time working for Kershaw Talley Barlow, my primary focus has been working with the victims of the 2018 Camp Fire. The day I started was the day after the fire was 100% contained. Once the news cameras were gone and the stories moved to something else, our work began.
We’ve spent the last year getting to know our client’s stories, looking at photos of their homes before and after, and hearing about how their lives are progressing in the wake of the fire. The stories I’ve heard about that day are haunting. They are experiences that no one should have to go through, things that sound completely surreal to someone who didn’t share in that experience. I’ve also heard stories about the goodness of other people in the midst of terror. There were so many people who did what they could to help someone else, even if it meant risking their own life.
I’ve heard so many people talk about how grateful they are for what they didn’t lose, an incredible feat of positivity for someone who has gone through something so terrible. I’ve heard stories of families drawing closer together, new friendships formed, and even a new relationship that began when the two decided to rebuild their lives together.
But there are many others who are still struggling, those that had nowhere to go and who are still living in tents on their property or in smoke damaged homes. Many have left the state entirely, and the saddest that I’ve heard is many have said they will never live in the trees again. Once the Camp Fire was no longer on the front page of the news, many quickly forgot about it. But it’s a year later and so many people still need help, whether it’s their living situation, living with the effects of PTSD, or just getting life as close to normal as possible.
In my experience working this case, I’ve been so inspired by the people. In the face of tragedy, they have shown an incredible amount of hope and resilience. They have shown me the beauty and resilience of the human spirit, and it’s truly been an honor to work with them. Beyond what we may accomplish in our work here, more than anything I hope that all victims find peace and healing as they continue moving forward with their lives.
About The Author
Kim J. Martin, Mass Tort Support
Kim has been with our firm since 2018. She supports the firm’s Mass Tort cases, with a primary focus on wildfire cases. She is a primary point of contact for clients and assists with all facets of client communications. She manages an internal database of sensitive client information, keeps the case tracker up to date and accurate, and implements procedures to maximize efficiency within the office. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography and has been photographing weddings for over 10 years. Her experience with client management and business organization paired with her passion for the law has made her a welcome addition to our office.