Fire de­stroys Par­adise

NINE DEAD

Cebu Daily News - - WORLD -

PAR­ADISE, Calif. — Not a sin­gle res­i­dent of Par­adise can be seen any­where in town after most of them fled the burn­ing North­ern Cal­i­for­nia com­mu­nity that may be lost for­ever. Aban­doned, charred ve­hi­cles clut­tered the main thor­ough­fare, ev­i­dence of the pan­icked evac­u­a­tion a day ear­lier.

Most of its build­ings are in ruin. En­tire neigh­bor­hoods are lev­eled. The busi­ness dis­trict is de­stroyed. In a sin­gle day, this Sierra Ne­vada foothill town of 27,000 founded in the 1800s was largely in­cin­er­ated by flames that moved so fast there was noth­ing fire­fight­ers could do.

Only a day after it be­gan, the blaze that started out­side the hilly town of Par­adise had grown on Fri­day to nearly 140 square miles (360 square kilo­me­ters) and de­stroyed more than 6,700 struc­tures, al­most all of them homes, mak­ing it Cal­i­for­nia’s most de­struc­tive wild­fire since record-keep­ing be­gan.

Nine peo­ple have been found dead, some in­side their cars and oth­ers out­side ve­hi­cles or homes after a des­per­ate evac­u­a­tion that Butte County Sher­iff Kory Honea called “the worst-case sce­nario.” Their iden­ti­ties were not yet known.

“It is what we feared for a long time,” Honea said, not­ing there was no time to knock on res­i­dents’ doors one-by-one.

With fires also burn­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, state of­fi­cials put the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple forced from their homes at more than 200,000. Evac­u­a­tion or­ders in­cluded the en­tire city of Mal­ibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hol­ly­wood’s big­gest stars.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is­sued an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion pro­vid­ing fed­eral funds for Butte, Ven­tura and Los An­ge­les coun­ties.

The fire in Par­adise, about 180 miles (290 kilo­me­ters) north­east of San Francisco, was still burn­ing out of con­trol Fri­day.

AP PHOTO

A cross is what is left on Fri­day (Nov. 9) of the Our Sav­ior Lutheran Church after a deadly wild­fire lev­eled Par­adise, a Cal­i­for­nia town, in less than a day.

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