A senior couple has tragically passed away in a California wildfire after receiving “erroneous information” that convinced them not to evacuate.
77-year-old Millicent Catarncuic and 68-year-old Philip Ruble were found dead at their Berry Creek home after the North Complex fire had taken over the area.
According to the reports, it was found that the couple was aware of wildfires in the area and had been preparing to evacuate their home.
However, the pair decided to stay put after receiving “erroneous information that the fire was 51 per cent contained,” presumably prompting them to believe that they were no longer in immediate danger.
“After speaking to family members, it is believed the pair was aware of the fire in the area,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea revealed in a press conference on Tuesday.
“They had packed their belongings in preparation to evacuate but later decided not to evacuate based on erroneous information that the fire was 51 per cent contained.”
After the wildfire decimated the Berry Creek area, Mr. Ruble was found dead inside his vehicle. Meanwhile, authorities discovered his partner’s body at a nearby embankment.
While the evacuation orders have been transmitted via radio and social media sites, it is not clear where the couple obtained the information about the wildfire’s containment because this type of data is typically not shared along with evacuation orders.
As CNN reported, residents of the affected areas have been warned about the danger via ham radio, social media pages, and the fire information line.
In addition, as Butte County spokesperson confirmed, officials in the area deployed evacuation sirens and warned the residents in door-to-door visits where possible.
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