Archive

ShareThis Page
Frantic search goes on for missing after California wildfire | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Frantic search goes on for missing after California wildfire

The Associated Press
| Monday, November 19, 2018 4:09 p.m
46185746185752d462b9310f4516b4a4d3cdafc91c72
A ferryboat and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge are obscured due to smoke and haze from wildfires Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
461857461857a495ef98065b46828a78655626160603
Smoke and haze from wildfires hovers over Russian Hill Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
46185746185744c9c87441354521b30baa9e4c7c77aa
In this Nov. 15, 2018, photo, Troy Miller wipes his eyes as he walks beside a burned out car on his property in Concow, Calif. Miller said he tried to evacuate when the Camp Fire came roaring through the area, but had to turn back when the roads were blocked with debris and fire. A small group of residents who survived the deadly wildfire are defying evacuation orders and living in the burn zone. (AP Photo/John Locher)

CHICO, Calif. — Desperate families posted photos and messages on social media and at shelters in hopes of finding missing loved ones, many of them elderly, nearly two weeks after the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history. The death toll stood at 77 Monday, with about 1,000 people unaccounted for.

“I have an uncle and two cousins that I have not been able to make contact with. Paul Williams, in his 90’s, his son Paul Wayne Williams, in his 70’s, and his daughter Gayle Williams in her 60’s,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Any info would be appreciated.”

Hundreds of searchers continued looking for human remains in the ashes in Paradise and outlying areas ravaged by the blaze Nov. 8, with the body count increasing daily.

Rain in Wednesday’s forecast added urgency to the task: While it could help firefighters knock down the flames, it could hinder the search by washing away fragmentary remains and turning ash into a thick paste.

Authorities located hundreds of missing people and the list of unaccounted for dropped dramatically Sunday from nearly 1,300 to 1,000. Social media pages gave updates on who was discovered dead and who was found safe.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea has said he put out the rough and incomplete list in hopes that many people would contact authorities to say they are OK. More than a dozen people are listed as “unknowns,” without first or last names.

“The data we’re putting out is raw, but my thought on that was it’s better to work toward progress than achieve perfection before we start giving that information out,” he told ABC on Sunday.

Robert James Miles, 58, lost the trailer he lived in in Paradise in the fire. He brought his 27-year-old son, Charlie, to a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster center to meet with a mental health counselor.

“His main concern was getting Mama out, and it rattled him to the roots,” he said.

At the shelter Miles was staying in in Chico, people posted names of those they hadn’t heard from. Miles said he alerted a Red Cross worker Saturday that he recognized eight names on the board as friends and knew they were OK.

“Two of them were in the shelter,” he said with a chuckle.

Ellen Lewis, a 72-year-old woman who lost her home in Paradise, went to the FEMA center for help, and a FEMA representative showed her the list of the missing while she was there. She recognized two people from her archery club.

“I’m going to have to contact other people to see if they’re OK,” she said. She said she would call the sheriff’s office if she confirmed they were safe.

The fire, which burned at least 234 square miles (606 square kilometers) and destroyed nearly 12,000 homes, reported was two-thirds contained on Monday.

Categories: World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.