PARADE (CBS SF) — When Butte County Deputy Aaron Parmley turned on his body camera at the height of the Camp Fire, he figured it would capture the final moments of his life.
Parmley was searching for four nurses from the Feather River Hospital who needed help fleeing the wall of flames that were roaring through the Butte County town of Paradise.
All around him there was fire. A smoky, red haze had replaced the blue skies of Thursday morning. On both sides of the road, walls of flames were consuming anything in the firestorm’s path. Houses and cars were ablaze.
His patrol car suddenly became disabled, he was forced to abandon it and flee with the nurses on foot.
On the video, he came be seen desperately searching for a way out. Parmley did not believe he would survive.
“Oh it’s not good,” he says with sirens wailing in the background and his breathing becoming more labored.
Parmley runs down a road, sparks raining down on him. The nurses running in front of him, also trying to escape.
“It’s bad,” he says as another evacuee urges him to “keep going” and tells him to “go towards the left” as they run through the gauntlet of fire.
Another in the group yells out — “Are they coming for us?”
Suddenly out of the fire and smoky haze a bulldozer arrives. They jump on board and escape the flames.
Parmley and the nurses were among the lucky ones. The fire — which roared through Paradise covering a football field every minute — claimed 88 lives with another 196 still missing.