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20/11/2018 7:51 AM AEDT | Updated 20/11/2018 7:51 AM AEDT

Inside A Shelter With The Victims Of California's Deadliest Wildfire

More than 250 evacuees are staying at Chico’s East Ave Church.

Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
East Avenue Church shelter in Chico, California.

CHICO, California ― In Chico’s East Ave Church, Pastor Ron Zimmer and his close-knit congregation are sheltering around 250 people who fled the wind-driven Camp fire last week.

Before the fire swept through the region at the rate of one football field per second, the evacuees lived just 15 miles west in the small city of Paradise and its surrounding forested towns. Now, they’re among the 26,000 people displaced by the inferno. As of Monday morning, the fire had taken 77 lives, and almost 1,000 people remain unaccounted for.

One of several shelters in Chico, East Ave Church has orchestrated much-needed medical care, regular hot meals, and clothing and other material donations for the hundreds of displaced evacuees, who often don’t have family nearby. Some people can’t access hotel rooms or rented homes and many are disabled.

Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Pastor Ron Zimmer in front of the East Ave Church in Chico, California. Zimmer, who has been at East Ave Church for 16 years, opened the church as a shelter for Camp fire evacuees.

It’s no easy feat, Zimmer said, but with the help of nearly as many volunteers as evacuees, he is doing his best to help survivors from the fires find some comfort. East Ave Church prides itself on being “a place to belong,” he said.  

Here are some of the evacuees, nurses, business owners and volunteers from neighboring towns who have found their way to East Ave Church.

Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Paula Levitt volunteers at a drink station at the East Avenue Church shelter.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Rolling Stone mobile pizza chef Jim King works with other volunteers to distribute pizzas at the East Ave Church shelter.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Greg Shafer, a behavioral health counselor with Butte County, does welfare checks on East Ave Shelter evacuees. 
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Gary P., from Red Bluff, California, volunteers by sorting toiletry items at the East Ave Church shelter.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Jim King cooking pizzas for evacuees.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Kelsey Zimmer and Natalie Canida volunteer and coordinate relief efforts at the East Ave Church shelter.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Sutter North RNs Jessica Garza and Maggie Page, along with UCSF RN Casey Domine, volunteer at the East Ave Community Church shelter, checking on victims of the Camp fire.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Susan Butler, a Chico resident and churchgoer at East Ave, has come to volunteer at the shelter.
Cayce Clifford for HuffPost
Libby Andresen outside of the shelter at East Ave Church. Andresen, her mother and brother were evacuated from their homes in Paradise, California.

Jenavieve Hatch, a HuffPost reporter from Sacramento, is reporting on the scene in California this week with photographer Cayce Clifford, talking to people affected by the Camp fire. Some of them, like Paula Levitt, are people she’s known for years. Some she’s meeting for the first time.