As California recovers from the deadly wildfires that swept through the state last month, stories of both tragedy and hope continue to emerge.
The fires that damaged vast swathes of land in the state destroyed many homes, including that of Courtney Werblow and her family, whose house in Paradise, California, was engulfed in flames and had to be abandoned.
Shortly before the encroaching fire forced the family to leave, their beloved cat Timber ran away in fear. The family suspected the worst, and thought they’d never see their cat again.
Almost exactly a month to the day that the Werblow family left their home, they returned to the site to survey the damage and see what – if anything – could be recovered.
Amazingly, as the family looked over the wreckage of their home, a familiar face came running towards them – it was Timber.
Posting a video of their tearful reunion to YouTube, Courtney wrote:
On December 8th, 2018, exactly one month after the Camp Fire swept through our entire community of Paradise, CA, we found hope!
With no home left, Timber (our family cat) came running to us!
NEVER LOSE HOPE!
My husband, two children and I lost our home in this fire as well as my entire small business. My parents also lost their home that they lived in.
After so much loss, this is a testimony of endurance, strength, and love.
Timber is a very special cat to our family. After a tree fell on my parent’s rental home 7 years ago, we were forced to move out and into a rental of our own. (The new rental did not allow cats.) At the time her name was “kitty” and was renamed Timber – what you yell when a tree is falling – Timmmberrrrr! Get it? ;) – From this point on, Timber lived with my parents back on the property she knew as home.
She is an amazing family cat and we are so happy to have her back into our arms – especially for our 6 year old, Ellie.
You can watch it here:
While it’s good news for Timber, the Werblows are – like many others in California – still without a home to go back to. It has been reported that 95 per cent of the town of Paradise has been badly damaged by the fires.
The Werblow family are looking for temporary accommodation while they try to get their lives back on track. If you’d like to help you can donate to a GoFundMe account set up for them here.
You can also support more victims of the fires by donating to the American Red Cross, who are currently managing a number of community evacuation centres across the state.
They also have a Safe and Well registry, which people can use to let others know they are safe.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.