Camp Fire Survivor Finds New Home With CHIP
Franciene Wells woke up early around 4 a.m. on the day of the Camp Fire and began her day like any other, spending time with her cat and preparing for her job as a property manager in Paradise. Wells, who says she didn’t have a radio and didn’t normally watch the local news, went to work as usual.
Later that morning, she noticed a resident hurrying off but didn’t think much about it. It was her maintenance man who finally warned her about the fire, then her company owner called and said staying was not an option.
“When I walked out the door it was completely black, but just behind us was this huge red glow that extended up high into the air, it was almost beautiful until one realized it was buildings on fire on the street below.” She said.
She knocked on residents’ doors and had enough time to grab a few things before fleeeing in her car down Clark Road with less than a quarter tank of gas. “The gas stations were packed solid,” says Wells, who decided it would be better to leave than wait and be unable to re-enter the flow of traffic and possible not be able to get out. “I just had to pray and go.”
Clark was packed and not moving, so she decided to make her escape across secondary streets to Skyway which was slow but moving faster than Clark. She had relatives in Oroville and was lucky to make it all the way there in about two and a half hours.
“I give credit to my maintenance man for saving my life,” Wells says. “If it hadn’t been a day the office was open, I probably would have slept through it.”
Wells, who has been in property management since 1988, said she immediately set to work finding a new position. CHIP was one of the three employers who called. “I came in for the CHIP interview and was soon offered a position here with you. It’s a miracle,” she said.
She accepted and is now the new resident manager at Lucian Manor Senior Apartments in Chico.
“So here I am, starting again and making new friends. The tenants are a blessing. I believe they identify with me because I too am a senior.”
Welcome to the CHIP family, Franciene!