Still search­ing:

The Mercury News - - Front Page - — Tracy Seipel and Eric Kurhi

Hun­dreds still miss­ing in Wine Coun­try fires.

Christina Han­son

Han­son’s rel­a­tives had been fran­ti­cally look­ing for her for two days be­fore they re­ceived the grim news that she had per­ished in the Tubbs fire at her home in Santa Rosa.

“Our search for Christina has come to an end,” her cousin Brit­tney Vic­u­lado tweeted late Tues­day night to the grow­ing group of peo­ple fol­low­ing the search for Christina that had be­gun Mon­day morn­ing.

“We have got­ten news we have lost an an­gel,” wrote her hus­band, Frank Vin­cu­lado.

Han­son, 27, an avid vol­un­teer for a lo­cal Alzheimer’s day care cen­ter, had spina bi­fida. The birth de­fect af­fects the spinal col­umn, and she was con­fined to a wheel­chair.

Early Wed­nes­day, as she cried on the phone, Kathy Rior­dan, one of Han­son’s aunts, re­counted what the fam­ily had pieced to­gether about Han­son’s death. The young wo­man had seen flames out­side her win­dow and called her step­mother at 1:37 a.m. Mon­day. Han­son lived in the Mark West area of Santa Rosa in an apart­ment be­hind her fa­ther’s home; she said she couldn’t reach her fa­ther. She was scared.

On Tues­day, a fire in­spec­tor found the re­mains of Han­son’s wheel­chair and her leg braces next to the bed; the fam­ily was told Han­son had died.

“I can’t talk about this any­more,” said a sob­bing Rior­dan. “She was a won­der­ful girl and we’re hurt­ing. This is too much.”

Charles and Sara Rippey

The fire moved too fast for them.

Charles Rippey was 100, his wife, Sara, was 98 and con­fined to a wheel­chair when the fire raced through their Napa neigh­bor­hood late Sun­day night. Their care­giver had tried to save the cou­ple, who had been sleep­ing, but the roof col­lapsed and she was forced to flee. Charles’ body was found in the liv­ing room, and his chil­dren be­lieve he was try­ing to get to his wife’s room. “We kids would al­ways talk about what it would be like if one of them died and the other was still alive,” their son Mike Rippey, 71, told the New York Times. “They just couldn’t be with­out each other. The fact that they went to­gether is prob­a­bly what they would have wanted.”

Linda Tu­nis

Jes­sica Tu­nis’ worst fears about her miss­ing mother were re­al­ized Wed­nes­day morn­ing, when her re­mains were found at her home in the Jour­ney’s End Mo­bile Home Park in Santa Rosa. “May she rest in peace, my sweet Momma,” the daugh­ter texted KRON 4 News. The night be­fore she told re­porters about a har­row­ing last con­ver­sa­tion she had with her mother, Linda Tu­nis, 69.

“She said, ‘I can’t get out. There’s fire at both doors. My house is on fire.’ She just kept say­ing ‘fire’ and cough­ing. She said, ‘I’m go­ing to die.’ Then the phone went dead.”

Jes­sica Tu­nis spent Tues­day in a des­per­ate search for her mother, hit­ting up 17 evac­u­a­tion cen­ters in per­son, call­ing 12 hospi­tals and the coroner, and putting the word out on so­cial me­dia. She posted a pic­ture of Linda at a cafe, in­quir­ing, “Does any­one know if Jour­ney’s End Mo­bile Home Park got evac­u­ated be­fore it burned down?”

Most peo­ple — in­clud­ing res­i­dents and the man­ager of the park — be­lieved that ev­ery­body got out in a hasty evac­u­a­tion that started around 3 a.m.

“It was very last-minute from the time the fire got to the park,” said man­ager James Cook. “It was en­gulfed within 35 min­utes. The power went out, the fire depart­ment and po­lice were knock­ing on doors, us­ing sirens and bull­horns. … We were told by the po­lice and fire depart­ment that ev­ery­body got out.”

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