Butte County deputy stays on job despite losing everything in Camp Fire

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First responders are risking their lives to help stop the fires burning right now in California.

For one deputy, he continues to answer the call even after losing everything.

As the Camp Fire raged through Paradise, Colusa police Sgt. Jarrod Hughes knew he had to get out fast.

“We just started packing,” Hughes said. “I saw the flames. I went down the road for a second.”

Hughes recalls what happened on Sunday.

“Saw the flames, saw how close they were,” Hughes said. “We just threw the animals and a suitcase and a backpack in the truck.”

All he could think about was getting his 14-year-old son, Austin, to safety.

“It was chaos,” Hughes said. “People were just abandoning animals and cars, running,” he said.

He made it out of his hometown, making sure his son was OK.

Then, he went right back to work.

“I get my uniform and my patrol car and head back up to help,” Hughes said.

He spent the rest of the day and night helping with evacuations while his own home burned.

“It’s my home,” Hughes said. “I loved it there.”

But even after learning he had lost everything, he was still out there working.

He has been focused on finding the people missing and those who died.

“It’s my community, it’s where I grew up,” Hughes said. “It’s something I absolutely had to do. There was no question about it. It was get my family to safety, so I can get in and get back up there and help everybody else.”

He was not alone. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office estimated more than 30 of their deputies lost homes in the fire, but they were still reporting for duty.

Hughes was just thankful his family made it out alive.

“But my heart breaks for the ones that didn’t,” Hughes said.

He told KTXL he is hopeful his community will be able to rise from the ashes.

“I plan on rebuilding,” Hughes said. “Hopefully, everybody rebuilds. We’ll survive.”

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