Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, was declared contained Sunday after burning for more than two weeks. The Washington Post reports the fire blazed through more than 153,000 acres, destroyed 14,000 homes and resulted in the death of 85 people (with 296 people still unaccounted for as of 11/26).
Last week, Adam Sartin, RE/MAX Region Vice President for California and Hawaii, sent a letter of support to all California Affiliates. Julie Rolls, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX of Paradise and RE/MAX of Chico, replied with a heartbreaking account of the devastation’s impact on RE/MAX Affiliates – and a request for help. Her letter is below.
Dear Adam and RE/MAX World Headquarters,
Thank you for reaching out with your concern for the well-being of our RE/MAX family living and working here in Paradise, California. As you know, the town of Paradise and most of Magalia is devastated. Estimates vary, but currently around 90% of the town appears to have been destroyed. For reference, here is a link to Butte County Sheriff’s Office recent data.
The loss of the vast majority of real estate in our market is impacting all of our agents right now, and that extends to my RE/MAX of Chico office as well. Many of our agents lost their homes, but all of them have lost a staggering amount of business in the course of a day. Business that is our livelihood. So far, RE/MAX of Paradise has accounted for the loss of 80% of our active escrows and almost all of our listings. With this immediate loss and the prospect for future business clearly at fractional levels of our usual volume, our agents need help. Even after all this shakes out, there will be a significant number of agents who will not be able to put food on their tables.
Even after all this shakes out, there will be a significant number of agents who will not be able to put food on their tables.
In Chico, the area which received the majority of the refugees, two-thirds of the active inventory has been sold in the past 13 days, and as I write this there are only 64 available single-family residences, town homes and manufactured homes on land available. Shortly, there will be very little left to sell, and stiff competition for each and every listing. There are approximately 600 active real estate agents and brokers in the area.
To be frank, I cannot really estimate the impact that this will have on my RE/MAX family. I don’t want to ignore that my Chico office is certainly affected as well, simply by the massive change coming to our area.
On a very personal level, I know of 10 Associates who have lost their homes and were left with virtually the clothes on their backs.
Seven other Associates, while having a home still standing, have all suffered severe smoke damage, and we doubt there is much salvageable.
In addition, five of our beloved staff members have lost everything as well. Not one person in our office is unaffected.
I also have heard that a retired longtime RE/MAX Associate and her husband perished in the fire.
It’s difficult to truly capture in words what my agents have been through. Many had to drive through flames just to survive. Even though they’ve lost everything, they all seem reluctant to accept help. Most have told me things like, “I am better off than most.” They are strong, capable people, and have put themselves to work helping other survivors and are still trying to do what they can to put people in homes.
Many had to drive through flames just to survive. Even though they’ve lost everything…they have put themselves to work helping other survivors and are still trying to do what they can to put people in homes.
While my main office in Paradise is still standing, I have not yet been able to get there to assess the situation. I simply know that for miles around, we stand in the middle of complete and utter destruction. I am told that it may be many months, perhaps years before the infrastructure is such that we might operate from the location again.
Relief has come in many forms and everyone affected has deep gratitude for the outreach and assistance offered. I am dedicated to making RE/MAX of Paradise stay strong. Thank you in advance for any assistance that you can render.
Very sincerely yours,
RE/MAX of Paradise, RE/MAX of Chico
You can support RE/MAX brokers and agents affected by the wildfires and other major disasters with a donation to the RE/MAX relief effort. Funds will be distributed with great care on an individual case-by-case basis.
“During my 13 years leading RE/MAX relief efforts for a variety of natural disasters, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact these donations can make,” says Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President of Global Alliances. “Each time we’re able to help agents facing unimaginable difficulties rebuild their homes, their lives and their businesses. Every check is always received with incredible gratitude.”
The RE/MAX relief effort was critical in providing aid to agents in 2017 in the wake of hurricanes that struck Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida and surrounding areas. Distributions have helped hundreds of RE/MAX Associates get back on their feet after suffering devastating loss in a natural disaster.