USEUROPEAFRICAASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World

List of missing tops 600 in California wildfire

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-17 07:07

President Trump set to meet victims of deadliest blaze

PARADISE, California - The number of people missing in one of the US western state's deadliest wildfires soared to more than 600 on Thursday as the remains of seven additional victims were found by rescuers.

Authorities said that the list of missing people had jumped from 300 to 631 during the day as investigators went back and reviewed emergency calls made when the so-called Camp Fire in northern California erupted on Nov 8.

"I want you to understand that the chaos we were dealing with was extraordinary" when the fire broke out, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told journalists, in explaining the staggering new toll of missing.

The seven additional victims brought to 63 the number of people who had died in the Camp Fire.

US President Donald Trump is set to visit the state on Saturday to meet victims of the wildfires, believed to be the deadliest and most destructive in the state's history.

Many of the victims and the hundreds missing in the Camp Fire were elderly people who lived in the Butte County town of Paradise, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is believed they were unable to flee the fast-moving blaze or were trapped in their cars as they attempted to escape the inferno.

Honea said the number of those missing was likely to fluctuate as people call in to report relatives who were unaccounted for or found alive. "If you look at that list and see your name, or the name of a friend or loved one, please call to let us know."

Investigators on Thursday collected DNA samples from relatives to help identify victims as hundreds of rescue personnel and sniffer dogs worked to locate more victims.

Virtually every home in Paradise, located 130 kilometers north of the state capital Sacramento, was destroyed by the fire, which was driven by high winds.

Body recovery teams are conducting a painstaking search of burned-out homes for human remains in the town and closely examining the many charred cars littering the roads.

The 63 deaths reported from the Camp Fire make it the deadliest wildfire in California's history, as the inferno also became the most destructive.

Tent city

The California fire department, or Cal Fire, said the Camp Fire has destroyed 56,660 hectares and was 40 percent contained.

It said nearly 5,500 firefighters were battling the blaze and it did not expect it to be fully contained for another two weeks. The Camp Fire has destroyed more than 8,650 single family homes and 260 commercial buildings, it said.

Those who survived the flames but lost homes were moving in temporarily with friends or relatives or bunking down in shelters.

Many found haven at an encampment that sprang up in the parking lot outside a still-open Walmart store in Paradise, where dozens of evacuees pitched tents or slept in their cars. Part of the lot was roped off as a distribution center for clothes, food and coffee. Portable toilets were also brought in.

Evacuees milling in the parking lot faced morning temperatures that dropped to just above freezing and many wore breathing masks for protection from lingering smoke.

Nicole and Eric Montague, along with their 16-year-old daughter, showed up for free food but have been living with extended family in the neighboring city of Chico, in a one-bedroom apartment filled with 15 people and nine dogs.

They recounted being stunned at how swiftly the fire roared through Paradise on the first night.

"We didn't have any time to react," Eric said. "The news didn't even know the fire was coming. It just happened so quick."

Afp - Reuters - Xinhua

List of missing tops 600 in California wildfire

(China Daily 11/17/2018 page9)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

BACK TO THE TOP
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349
FOLLOW US