The death count from California wildfires has risen to 42 lives lost, but that number will likely increase by a lot once the fires are contained enough for emergency responders to go through the buildings.
Two people who escaped the inferno captured video footage of the fires near their home.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.
David McNew/Getty Images
GLENN: Mike and his roommate knew they only had seconds to make a last-ditch escape from their home in Yuba County, California. The flying embers and the smoke swarmed everywhere.
As the fire singed their hair and burned their eyes, they ran into the SUV, praying to God that they would make it out in time.
VOICE: Oh, my God, dude. You’re going to have to cut to the left. Open the gate.
GLENN: Here he is running out, into —
VOICE: We’re going to die, dude. We got to get out of here.
GLENN: Into the flames. Trying to open the gate, so they could get their SUV through. Flames all around them. Embers in their hair.
VOICE: I can’t breathe, dude.
VOICE: You’re all right. You got this.
VOICE: We shouldn’t be driving into this gorge.
VOICE: Oh, my God. I can’t breathe.
VOICE: This meadow, dude. Come on, Expedition, baby. You can do it, girl!
GLENN: We’re not dead yet.
VOICE: This is our only option.
GLENN: Mike and his roommate survived, but others have not been so lucky.
The northern California wildfires have claimed at least 42 people so far, but that is expected to go way up as we begin to search and send search-and-rescue teams out to comb through the gutted homes looking for bodies.
Five thousand seven hundred homes and businesses have been reduced to ashes. To put this into perspective, the wildfires have consumed an area larger than New York City.
This has been the deadliest wildfire epidemic in Californian history. And yet, out of the smoke and the debris comes hope.
Loren Jade Smith — Lauren lost the most precious thing in the world to the Santa Rosa wildfires. He lost his Oakland A’s collection. He had baseball cards dating back to the year 2000. He had 17 jerseys, ten hats, two baseballs, one of them signed by the entire team.
Loren wrote to the baseball team about his plight. He said, to the Oakland A’s, I love watching your A’s games. I want to be an A’s player. I want to play at Mark West Little League in Santa Rosa. I played baseball in my backyard all day, loving the A’s and making my own game.
In my backyard, we won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire. And my saddest thing was that my A’s collection is gone.
Well, the A’s got that note, and the president of the A’s moved so much by Loren’s letter, he promised to completely outfit the 9-year-old and his family in new athletics gear. People from all over the country are now sending Loren their Oakland A’s memorabilia in an effort to help him restore his collection.
It is the simple things in life that change our experience. Never underestimate the generosity of humanity in small and seemingly insignificant ways. Ask and ye shall receive.
As the wild fires in northern California become contained, remember that the fire in a man’s heart to do good can never be extinguished.