GREAT FALLS – Although the Camp Fire is hundreds of miles away in California, it hit home for one Malmstrom airman whose family escaped the flames.
The blaze is now known as the most destructive fire in the state’s history as it has destroyed 6,400 homes and killed 29 people with the death toll expected to rise.
Jordan Bush had to watch his family’s home be destroyed from hundreds of miles away.
“It is really hard. As much as I want to go home, I know I can’t because I don’t have anywhere to go to really,” Bush said
When he first heard about a fire back home, he texted his dad right away, ““I asked if you guys were ok and he said, ‘No, not really,’ and that they were evacuating.”
His dad rushed back to their house in Paradise to get his 18-year-old sister who was asleep at home. Bush’s dad had been unable to contact her.
“She didn’t really know anything until my dad finally woke her up. He was like,’Hey, you need to wake up and start packing some things,’” Bush said.
They didn’t have much time due to the fast-moving fire. They were able to get the animals and some paperwork, and then they left as fast as possible.
“It is really hard,” Bush said. “As much as I want to go home, I know I can’t.”
For Bush, watching the events in California unfold from far away isn’t easy. He is an airman with the 341st Security Forces Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
“I can’t do anything. I have to let the first responders do their work,” Bush said.
He added he started to get really nervous when they sent him pictures and videos. His dad and sister were stuck on one of the roads out of their neighborhood for about 45 minutes.
“She was telling me a story about how she had to run over a box because it was packed in and she was worried about the box catching on fire,” Bush said.
His parents, brother, and sister all made it safely out along with their pets.
“We are 100 percent sure that it is gone. We have not had confirmation, but all my parents’ friends that live up there have got confirmation. That whole town is leveled,” Bush said.
He said the airmen at Malmstrom have supported him through this ordeal, “they have been amazing. It is a second family and I am really thankful for them.”
He added that even though they lost everything, he is thankful his family made it out alive. If you would like to help the Bush family, you can donate to their GoFundMe.
-Margaret DeMarco reporting for MTN News