When Shirley and her son, Salvador, learned their house was destroyed in the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA, they weren't sure they would ever find a place to call home again. See how Executive Homes in Chico, CA, helped them find their dream home after their devastating loss.
In 2018, Paradise, CA, was at the center of the Camp Fire, which was caused by a neglected piece of electrical equipment. The fire destroyed over 18,000 structures in the area, including homes like Shirley Birdsong’s. Shirley and her son, Salvador, were caught at the center of the fire. They were trapped for some time and weren't sure if they would survive, but were eventually able to escape.
"There was gridlock traffic (when we tried to escape),” Salvador said. “When we got down the hill and saw sunlight coming through, it felt like a miracle to see that instead of pitch-black darkness (from the fire)."
Once they escaped, Shirley and Salvador had no idea what condition their home was in. It wasn't until days later on a newscast that they learned it had been destroyed.
Once the two felt it was time to rebuild again in Paradise, Shirley started the search for the right home for her and Salvador. She was looking for a small, 2 bedroom home. She toured many of them, but none felt right until she went to Executive Homes, a family-owned manufactured home retailer that has been serving the community for more than 40 years. There, she met sales manager Tommy Slattery.
"I went to Tommy and told him I was tired of looking at homes," Shirley said. "He let me tour the homes without pressuring me. Every home I walked in I said, 'This isn't it,' and my son said 'Mom, I'm sick of looking at homes, just pick one.' When I opened the door to this home, I said this is it, even though it was a much bigger home than I was looking for."
In November 2022, Shirley and Salvador moved into the Coronado, a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom Clayton home with a split bedroom floor plan that’s perfect for their living situation.
Shirley was one of thousands of people who had to rebuild in Paradise after the fire. After this devastation and during her home buying process, she met and developed a special relationship with Stan Cosper, a builder who helps residents like Shirley maintain their homes.
"I am a builder, and I live in one of these (manufactured home)," Stan said. "They aren’t built like they used to be, and now you can move in with equity. To me, it's a no-brainer."
One of his big projects for Shirley’s home was building her porch steps, but what you'll also notice when you walk around her property are her original paintings, pottery and artwork, from painted pots in her garden to a mural fence post.
"I'm very grateful to Stan," Shirley said. "I had given up, and I didn't realize I had talent, but he brought that to my attention."
And even though she and Salvador have only been in their new home for a short time so far, the home feels lived in and filled with love.
"My son is my anchor; we have fun living in this home," Shirley said. "I just wanted to be home so badly."
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