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Teen living in Boulder learns his family home was lost to Camp Fire

A teen on a mission trip in Colorado learned his family home in California was destroyed by the Camp Fire burning in northern California.

BOULDER COUNTY — Firefighters in California said they found seven more bodies as of Thursday night bringing the number of people killed in the Camp Fire to 63.

Law enforcement said 631 people are still unaccounted for, but said that number likely includes people who evacuated and don't realize they're unaccounted for. At least 52,000 people have been displaced by the wildfire and 97 homes have been destroyed.

One of the homes lost to the fire belonged to a family from Paradise whose 19-year-old son is currently living in Boulder County. Tyler Vail is just a little more than halfway through with his two-year mission trip for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

As part of the mission, Vail isn't allowed some forms of entertainment like television and his communication to people back home is very limited. Most days he's not even allowed to reach out to his family. The only exception is on Mondays when he can exchange e-mails with them.

Because of the lack of communication and being unable to watch TV, Vail didn't even know his hometown was being ravaged by the Camp Fire until a friend in Boulder told him.

"They just gave me a call, like, 'Hey, just in case you didn't know, like, your town where you're from is burning down," Vail said.

Vail said his family is safe and staying in Chico which is about 15 miles from Paradise. However, they've asked for help to pay for Vail to finish his mission in Colorado. So, Vail's new congregation stepped up.

A mission costs $400 a month and lasts two years, according to Bishop Greg Fischer who helps oversee Vail's work. Fischer said the remainder of Vail's stay in Colorado costs around $2,800 and they're asking his congregation for help to raise the money.

"We really wanted to go to people who knew Tyler," Fischer said. "People who wanted to help him because they knew him and loved him."

As Vail looked through pictures of his now-burned home, Thursday afternoon, he struggled to recognize some parts of the house. However, he said he's determined to finish his work in Colorado.

"I've had a lot of comfort and peace from that," he said.

While looking at one photo Vail made a remark about the one thing he instantly identified -- the house's foundation.

"It's kind of comforting to know that the foundation survived," Vail said. "Because the foundation is kind of what your house is on. It's just like our faith or our testimonies in Jesus Christ. If they're really solid, it doesn't matter what happens. The foundation is always going to be there."

Vail will finish his mission in June.