Quantcast

California man after wildfires: "Like somebody dropped a bomb on - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

California man after wildfires: "Like somebody dropped a bomb on our lives"

Posted: Updated:

The death toll from California's fast-moving wildfires continues to climb. Firefighters now say 17 people have died. Seventeen wildfires are burning across the state and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses. Much of the destruction is concentrated in the heart of California's wine country – and the state's governor has declared a state of emergency.

People across Northern California are now returning to where their homes used to be. For many of them, all that's left are piles of wood and cement. A 100-year-old man and his 98-year-old wife died in Napa County when they couldn't escape the oncoming flames. That couple had known each other since grade school, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

"It looks just like somebody dropped a bomb on our lives," said Ruben Lopez.

Just one month ago, Lopez, his wife and three young children moved into their house. Now, it's unrecognizable – blackened by the raging fire.

"You're waking your kids up, trying to make it out as you can see a scary glow of light coming just right over the hill," Lopez said.

The Lopez family is just one of hundreds who lost everything.

"We looked out and it was all engulfed in a matter of moments," said nurse Julayne Smithson.

Smithson helped evacuate intensive care patients as she watched her own home nearby burn to the ground. She bought it just three weeks ago.

"I really didn't think about my home at that point," Smithson said. "Our goal was that patient, that's my focus that was my assignment, I had to deliver and that was the focus."

"It hit so fast, they just didn't have a chance," said Mike Rippey.  

Rippey's parents Charles and Sara were married for 75 years. The two died together when the fire reached their home. 

"My mother had a stroke and she couldn't move very well at all and my father certainly never would have left her," Rippey said.

"My kids are safe, my wife, our dogs, my parents. There's going to be a lot of work to rebuild. It's going to take a community effort to really get this back to what it is," Lopez said. 

The Atlas Fire is just one of 17 fires burning in Northern California -- and it's just three percent contained.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

WEATHER
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Our Apologies

    The page you requested is currently unavailable. Pages on this site are constantly being revised, updated, and occasionally removed. You may have followed an outdated link or have outdated pages in your

    You have reached a page which is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page

  • No threat found at Belgrade High School

    No threat found at Belgrade High School

    Thursday, February 22 2018 3:13 PM EST2018-02-22 20:13:25 GMT

    BELGRADE - Officials say the shelter in place at Belgrade High School has been lifted.  It has been determined that there is no credible threat at this point. 

    BELGRADE - Officials say the shelter in place at Belgrade High School has been lifted.  It has been determined that there is no credible threat at this point. 

  • Murder investigation underway near Red Lodge

    Murder investigation underway near Red Lodge

    Thursday, February 22 2018 10:45 AM EST2018-02-22 15:45:02 GMT

    Authorities are investigating a murder south of Red Lodge. 

    Authorities are investigating a murder south of Red Lodge. 

Powered by Frankly

© KBZK.com 2018, KBZK.com
A CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS Station
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?