DENVER, Colorado — The deadliest wildfire in California's history has left behind a path of unimaginable destruction, wiping out homes and killing at least 50 people.
The Hamilton family had nine minutes to evacuate and barely escaped as flames raced toward their home. They lost everything in the fire just three weeks after moving all their belongings to Paradise, California.
Steve Hamilton, his wife Delinda and their three kids moved from Colorado to California so he could take a job as a lead pastor. The family spent six years in Colorado where he worked for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"I know it was a really hard decision for him to leave but he felt like God was calling him out there," said Matt Moreland, a longtime friend and former coworker.
Boxes were still packed when the fire destroyed the home where they had recently moved in. Pictures show the outline of a foundation and some of their belongings in the debris.
"They really just jumped in the car and drove away and Steve said when they were driving away their front yard was already on fire," said Moreland.
He say the family didn't have insurance yet because they had just moved. Despite their loss, the family is focusing on helping others in their new community.
"As soon as they went down the hill in Chico, Steve was calling people, asking for supplies to get things organized in order to start helping these people," said Moreland.
Now friends are trying to help the family start over. They started a GoFundMe page to raise money for them as they continue their ministry work in California.
"They would never ask for help, they would just be the ones helping everyone else," said Lindsey Pratt, a friend who started the fundraising page.