CONCORD, Mass., JAN. 23, 2020 —Beginning January 30th, the Emmy Award-winning series This Old House will air a four-part special on its mission to help rebuild Paradise, California after the disastrous fires that destroyed 14,000 homes and killed 85 people in November of 2018. The special will premiere on PBS and then stream on ThisOldHouse.com and the This Old House App.
When the town issued its first building permit, Paradise fought back to rebuild in a way that is safe and sustainable for the future – and This Old House was there to help. The episodes focus on how the fire spread, how the building codes have changed to better protect homeowners and communities, and how builders are exploring new techniques and materials that can survive an inferno. This Old House follows the progress of several families as they struggle to reconstruct homes and lives altered by the fire.
As fires become more frequent and occur in more urban areas, it’s important to understand what homeowners and residents can do to help protect themselves and their neighbors. Kevin O’Connor, Tom Silva, Richard Trethewey, Jenn Nawada and Mark McCullough lend their expertise to help the following families in their various stages of the rebuilding process:
Joe and Avonlea Aurentz have a 4-year-old daughter, Talen. On the day of the fire, Joe was at work in a nearby town. Avonlea picked up their daughter from school as the town was evacuating. For hours she struggled to drive through streets littered with burning trees and fallen power lines. As flames leaped over the car, she feared they would not survive. Through spotty cell service she managed to leave an emotional good-bye message to Joe. Seven months later, they had a permit to rebuild, and today their new home is under construction.
José and Anna Guevara have two sons. On the day of the fire, Anna was out of town, but José had a harrowing experience driving the children to safety. He didn’t think they would make it out alive. He blasted music as he drove through the thick smoke, distracting the boys and hiding his own fear. They are just beginning the process of clearing their lot and designing a new home.
Luke Bellefeuille and Crystal Hutchinson grew up in Paradise. Crystal was able to drive her son to safety, but as the fire raged, Luke struggled to save his house and others. When he finally ran out of water, he had to leave. The house was standing when he left. When he returned, it was ashes. They applied early for a rebuilding permit. Today the house is ready for finishing touches. They hope to move in soon.
The season one finale of Clearstory, This Old House’s new podcast that sheds light on the surprising stories behind our homes, also focused on Paradise, CA. In episode 10 — “Rebuilding Paradise: Holding onto Home” — host Kevin O’Connor, Richard Trethewey, and psychology professor Susan Clayton explore why some homeowners choose to rebuild, often in the same spot, while others opt to move and start fresh elsewhere after natural disasters.
Ways viewers can donate:
www.ParadiseRotary.org – The Foundation‘s present focus is on the rebuilding and re-population of Paradise following the Camp Fire.
www.Rebuildparadise.org – This grassroots foundation is looking at how to support safe and sustainable construction in Paradise while supporting those affected by the fire.
www.hopeplazaparadise.com – Hope Plaza is a landmark dedicated to the memory of the Camp Fire and is designed to be a place of honor for the first responders and those who perished – as well as a place to inspire hope for our future.
About This Old House Ventures, LLC
This Old House Ventures, LLC is the number one multi-platform home enthusiast brand, serving over 15 million consumers each month with trusted information and expert advice through its award-winning television shows This Old House and Ask This Old House, its highly regarded This Old House magazine and its inspiration and information-driven digital properties, including ThisOldHouse.com and the newly launched Clearstory, a podcast that sheds light on the surprising stories behind our homes. The This Old House® brand recently won “Outstanding Lifestyle Program” for Ask This Old House at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards.
This Old House and Ask This Old House are produced by This Old House Ventures, LLC, and are presented on PBS by WETA Washington, DC. National underwriting for This Old House TV is provided by GMC, The Home Depot, State Farm Insurance Company, Marvin Windows & Doors, Gorilla Glue, and HomeAdvisor.