Hundreds still missing in Wine Country fires.
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.”
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.”