2 more bodies found bring California wildfire death toll to 5 | Inquirer News

2 more bodies found bring California wildfire death toll to 5

/ 09:48 AM September 18, 2015

California Wildfires

A young mountain lion, burned by a wildfire, is cared for by Dr. Ben Gonzales, a wildlife Veterinarian, at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s investigation lab at Nimbus in Rancho Cordova, California, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The cub suffered burns to his face and the pads of his paws. Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee via AP

MIDDLETOWN, California — Authorities say two more bodies have been found in homes burned by a California wildfire, bringing the death toll from the blazes in the northern part of the state to five.

Two fires continued burning Thursday, but cooler weather and rain helped firefighters gain ground on the blazes that have destroyed more than 800 homes.


The Lake County Sheriff’s office says official identifications have yet to be made, but they are presumed to be the bodies of Bruce Beven Burns and former San Jose Mercury News police reporter, Leonard Neft, 69. Burns age was not released.


Neft last spoke with his family Saturday evening.

Authorities earlier found his burned-out car on the route he would have used to escape.

His daughter Joselyn Neft said his wife, Adela Neft, repeatedly called him Saturday to tell him to leave the house, but he told her he didn’t think the fire was coming toward him. Neither woman was immediately available Thursday.

His house was in the same area where Barbara McWilliams, 72, was found dead. She told her caretaker she didn’t want to leave her home near Middletown and would be fine.

Cadaver dogs found the bodies Tuesday night, Brooks said. Two more people remain missing.

KRON reports a man named Edwin Null is one of the missing. The name of the other person was not released.


About 170 miles (275 kilometers) southeast, in a separate wildfire in the Sierra Nevada foothills, two bodies were found inside burned-out homes, Calaveras County coroner Kevin Raggio said.

One of the victims was identified as Mark McCloud, 65, who was found inside his residence Tuesday.

Raggio wouldn’t release the name of the second victim found in another home, because the family has not been notified.

The tragedy comes as firefighters gained ground on the massive blazes thanks to cooler weather and some rain on Wednesday. The fire in Lake County has charred 115 square miles (300 sq. kilometers) and was 35 percent contained Thursday. An estimated 585 homes and hundreds of other structures have burned.

The fire in Amador and Calaveras counties has burned 110 square miles (300 sq. kilometers). It was 49 percent contained Thursday after destroying 252 homes.


California wildfire evacuees return home, find charred ruins

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Deadly Northern California wildfire incinerates homes

TAGS: burned, California, damage, Death Toll, victims, wildfire

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