ST. HELENS, Ore. — A St. Helens man who frantically searched for family amid the wildfires raging up and down California now has a sense of relief.
Minutes after the story on Jeff Jones' search was broadcast, one of Jones' distant relatives contacted KGW to say everyone in the story was alive and safe.
“Everybody was located, and they are in the same home in Chico California,” Jones said.
Relief, first and foremost, in Jones' voice on Saturday.
The St. Helens man spent nearly 24 hours searching for loved ones living in Paradise and Chico the most fire-ravaged parts of California
His foster mother Cheryl Foy, her sister and brother in law and her two sons were OK. Turns out they'd started paying attention to the fire early.
“They made the decision to get out without having to rush for their lives,” Jones said.
Then Jones learned something else: In the days leading up to the fire, he says his foster mother had what appeared to be multiple strokes. She was hospitalized, treated and sent home. A home that days later may be burned to the ground. For now, Jones is trying to focus on what's not lost.
“Again, the most important thing is knowing where your loved ones are and the status of their lives,” he said.
KGW spoke to Jones via phone because he's now on the road linking up with family, to help figure out housing, health care, insurance and anything else his foster mother needs.
He said as soon as he knows it's safe, he'll drive to California.
The Red Cross says anyone searching for family should visit redcross.org/safeandwell.