Authorities claim a raging wildfire in central California is responsible for two deaths and an estimated 150 destroyed homes. Saturday afternoon, dozens of shocked residents and first responders stood among the smoldering rubble and ruins where up to 2,5000 residences remain threatened.
A set of skeletal remains was discovered in a residence engulfed in the wildfire. Although, the remnants were burnt beyond recognition, its yet to be determined if the charred bones are human or animal. The harrowing and destructive blaze that began Thursday afternoon has spread throughout some 35,700 acres.
Though many lost homes and valuables, they were fortunate to escape the wildfire with their lives. Unfortunately, this was not the case for an as-yet unnamed elderly couple who fell victim to poisonous smoke inhalation.
A neighbor of the deceased elderly couple told local reporters one of the two was bedridden and the home was so full of smoke it was barely recognizable. The witness then described seeing the elderly man struggle to flee harm’s way, but fatally collapsing just 20 feet from his former residence.
On Friday afternoon, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, while offering his condolences to those impacted. The Los Angeles Times stated the following.
“Anne and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to everyone impacted by this destructive blaze. We join all Californians in expressing our gratitude to the courageous firefighters, emergency personnel and volunteers working tirelessly throughout Kern County to help residents and extinguish this fire.”
At least 800 firefighters are currently battling to contain the wildfire. Additional reserve and volunteer firefighters are expected to join in the effort to save homes and lives. Kern County Fire Captain Tyler Townsend stated Friday, “The fire is moving with the winds in an easterly direction. Kern also said power lines were down throughout the area during an afternoon press briefing at KCFD Station 72 in Lake Isabella.
Residents of South Lake –a primary retirement community where several homes were uninsured– had the following surreal comments for NBC News.
“It’s all gone. It really is,” Russell Forrest said as he surveyed the wreckage of his home in South Lake. “I’ve been here twice trying to salvage anything, and I can’t even tell where things used to be.”
“I thought this was my retirement fund,” said Danny Walker, who lost his house, his garage, and two of his three dogs. “Everything’s gone.”
“I’ve never been in a wildland fire where I’ve seen so many homes burn,” Kern County fire Capt. Tyler Townsend told NBC Los Angeles Friday. “It’s one of the most devastating I’ve ever seen.”
As of Saturday the raging wildfire was reportedly 10 percent contained, per the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The Erskine fire is just one of a recent spate of wildfires that have hit the west-coast in recent weeks. Stay tuned to the Inquisitr for breaking updates on the latest raging wildfire to spread through California.
[Photo byJae C. Hong/AP Images]