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11 Oct 2017

Tears as California Wildfires Kill 15 Including a Couple Aged 100 and 99 Who Were Too Frail to Escape

The California wildfires have caused serious tragedy, killing as many as 15 persons including a very old couple too frail to escape.
File photo: The California wildfire destroyed homes

A couple aged 100 and 99 who were "too frail to escape their home" have been killed in the ferocious California wildfires.

14 other persons were killed in the fires.

According to The Sun UK, Charles Rippey and his wife Sara Rippey who married on March 20 1942, died together in Napa Valley, months after celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.

The couple's carer tried to save them, but the windows of their property suddenly started to explode, according to NBC Bay Area.

Their son Chuck told the broadcaster: "She went down to get my father and all the windows started to explode... she just couldn't find them.

"Before she knew it, the roof was caving in. So it was very fast, very fast."

News of their tragic death comes after  jaw-dropping pictures show the burning skeleton of a huge hotel that was devoured by the wildfires sweeping across Northern California.

The flames are reportedly so hot they melted the glass off of cars and turned aluminium wheels into liquid.

Images show the torched remains of Hilton Hotel in Sonoma County in the hills north of the city of Santa Rosa.

At least have been 100 injured and at least 1,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed, authorities said.

All three figures were expected to surge in the coming days as more information is reported.

Taken as a group, the fires are already among the deadliest in California history.

Residents who gathered at emergency shelters and grocery stores said they were shocked by the speed and ferocity of the flames.

They recalled all the possessions they had left behind and were lost.

Celebrities with homes and vineyards in the region include director Francis Ford Coppola, Disney Pixar exec John Lasseter and US politician Nancy Pelosi.

"All that good stuff, I'm never going to see it again," said Jeff Okrepkie, who fled his neighbourhood in Santa Rosa knowing it was probably the last time he would see his home of the past five years standing.

His worst fears were confirmed when a friend sent him a photo of what was left: a smoldering heap of burnt metal and debris.

Some of the largest of the 14 blazes burning over a 200-mile region were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. They sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles away.

Dramatic photos of smoke-filled skies over nearby Disneyland have led to fears the park could be shut down.

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