Sunday 16 December 2018
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Dead in cars and homes: Northern California fire toll at 42

The dead were found in burned-out cars, in the smoldering ruins of their homes, or next to their vehicles, apparently overcome by smoke and flames before they could jump in behind the wheel and escape. In some cases, there were only charred fragments of bone, so small that coroner s investigators used a wire basket to sift and sort them. At least 42 people were confirmed dead in the wildfire that turned the Northern California town of Paradise and outlying areas into hell on earth, making it the deadliest blaze in state history. The search for bodies continued Monday. Hundreds of people were unaccounted for by the sheriff s reckoning, four days after the fire swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped it off the map with flames so fierce that authorities brought in a mobile DNA lab and forensic anthropologists to help identify the dead. Meanwhile, a landowner near where the blaze began, Betsy Ann Cowley, said she got an email from Pacific Gas Electric Co. the day before

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