1 minute readDisaster

“All is Not Lost”: A Carr Fire Survivor Shares Her Story

Meet Terry Zeller

“We’re picking up the pieces and moving on,” said Terry Zeller whose home on Redbud Drive burned when the Carr Fire jumped the Sacramento River. She has been welcomed to stay at the undamaged home of her neighbor Patricia whose home was the first one built in the Redding neighborhood. “All is not lost,” said Terry. She has her family, her hand-raised chickens, and her friends. Speaking of the chickens: Terry said when the fire was in full force, firefighters were able to pluck the chickens one at a time safely through an open gate.

Devastation from the Carr Fire  

The Carr Fire ignited July 23 near Hwy 299 on Carr Powerhouse Road. As of Sunday, August 5, the wildfire burned at least 160,000 acres and was 43 percent contained. More than 1,000 homes were destroyed and seven people have been killed. Repopulation of residents affected by evacuations continues as conditions permit. American Red Cross workers remain in the community assisting families with available resources to help bring their lives close to normalcy.

When the wind shifted, Terry said the fire hit the retaining wall and “it felt like we were being hailed on.” Trees went up in flames. Quarts of home-grown tomatoes, her bees and five gallons of harvested honey were destroyed. “We thought we were safe.”

Terry Zeller walking through the rubble after the Carr Fire hit her home.

Help from Friends

Her trailer and car were packed and poised to escape but she and her husband ended up driving toward the fire. Friends near Shasta College and in Cottonwood offered Terry and her husband a place to stay. During dinner with friends, Terry learned about the Local Assistance Center (LAC). That’s where she collected insurance and other homeowner information along with a Red Cross wildfire kit and disaster emergency supplies.  The wildfire kit included tarp, garbage bags, gloves, masks, bleach and eye drops, while the emergency supplies included rakes, sifters and shovels. “Red Cross has been marvelous, and brought much inspiration and hope.”

Picking up the Pieces

Several friends stopped by to help Terry sort through the ash and rubble. Terry said memories are not gone and will start a journal. “I lost two family members last year. That is the loss. We’re picking up the pieces and moving on.”

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