FULSHEAR, Texas – Thanksgiving will be very different this year for the Pietz family from Fulshear. They planned to celebrate in Paradise, California, before the deadliest wildfire in state history devastated the city in recent days.
Their plans won’t change, but now Kathryn, Ian and their five children will also pack work clothes so that they can help the families of eight relatives who lost everything.
“I felt helpless, you know, not being able to be there,” Kathryn Pietz said.
All five Pietz children were born in Paradise, and the family lived just outside the city in Bangor, California. The Pietz family moved to Fulshear only last year after barely escaping the Cascade Fire.
“You leave a fire with nothing but the clothes on your back,” she said.
Some now-homeless Pietz relatives described evacuating without warning, including a nephew who didn’t even have time to grab his wallet.
“In situations in the past, I’ve been able to be there for evacuation centers, and, you know, to sort things, and it’s hard to be here, realizing that I’m not doing anything.” Kathryn Pietz said with tears in her eyes.
The so-called Camp Fire has claimed the lives of at least 42 people in Butte County and destroyed nearly 7,000 structures. Hundreds of people remain missing.
Allan Warren, Kathryn Pietz’s brother, was in Los Angeles when the fire broke out. His wife evacuated with two of their adult, handicapped sons.
Davey Moser, Kathryn Pietz’s nephew, escaped with his wife and three small children. Moser’s parents and adult siblings and their families also lost everything.
Click here to donate to the Pietz relatives' GoFundMe account.