Paradise California is a small town nestled in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is also home to the deadliest wildfire in California history. On November 8, 2018, the dreamy landscape of Paradise became a nightmare for its residents. A massive wildfire swept through Paradise, killing 85 people, and destroying more than 18,000 homes. One of those homes was former emergency room director Melissa Barnard’s home, where she lived with her husband and their three sons.
She said, “There was thick black smoke everywhere and I just thought, ‘We need to get out of here.’ So, we took our cars, our dog, and our travel trailers and drove north until it was sunny and found a campground and slept in our cars. It was crazy.”
With two sons still in high school, Melissa and her family decided to stay in Paradise and become a part of the town’s reconstruction. She is now even on the board of directors for Paradise Stronger, a non-profit dedicated to the health and wellness of the residents of Paradise.
Melissa’s story was featured in several media outlets, including a documentary on Vice, that capture the strength and resilience it took to rebuild.
Melissa said she scrapped their plans to replace their 1970s ranch-style home with a conventional house when she discovered the Quonset hut.
Melissa purchased two buildings for their property and began assembling them with the help of her two sons.
The garage, which is now a yoga studio, is a Q-Model 25X30 and sprayed with foam insulation, which gives it a “cave-like” look. And her home, which is also a Q-Model, is all metal with a custom stone front end wall.
Mike Harmon, the building specialist who worked with Melissa, explains, “The front and back wall are fire rated components that serve the same function as the rest of the building. So, unlike a traditional building that uses wood components, this is all steel and rock and it limits how much combustible materials are on the building.”
Melissa states the years after the fire were challenging, but she has flourished over the past year, just like Paradise has after the fire.
“It was really hard for a few years, but now I’m a yoga teacher, my kids are grown, I’m growing a garden, I walk my dogs every day, and I have a beautiful new house.
Not only do Melissa and her family have peace of mind that they will be safe in their new home, but they also love the aesthetic of it as well. Overall, Melissa had a positive experience working with SteelMaster during what she describes as “One of the most stressful situations of my life.”
She said, “SteelMaster was great. Travis was great. It was excellent. I am confident that this metal structure will last.”