5 people found dead in vehicles torched by fire

Leroy Wright
November 10, 2018

Wildfires raged on Friday across California, where five people died in their cars while trying to escape flames engulfing a mountain town, and residents were forced to flee the upscale beach community of Malibu in the face of a monster firestorm.

The Woolsey blaze shut down 101 Freeway after causing the evacuations of 75,000 homes in parts of Thousands Oaks in northwest Los Angeles, the site of a shooting massacre by a former U.S. marine this week.

Captain Scott McLean, from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the Camp Fire had grown to almost 110 square miles after devouring the town of Paradise.

Since starting at 6:30 a.m. PT just north of Sacramento, the fire is consuming 80 acres per minute - photos show that smoke is already reaching the Bay Area about 150 miles away.

Malibu officials initially said the order applied to the entire city but have now defined an area that is approximately the western two-thirds of the community.

The Los Angeles and Ventura county fire departments say multiple buildings have been destroyed or damaged, but exact numbers were not available early Friday.

Some of the first responders who rushed to the scene of the second mass shooting in less than two weeks in the United States were also helping out with fire-related duties.

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The entire city of Malibu is under evacuation orders, after flames jumped the 101 Freeway and headed coastward, propelled by strong winds, reported ABC News. So you take it personally and we haven't really had time to reflect. The size of the fire is about 110 square miles, he said Friday.

The fire, known as the Camp Fire, evolved quickly into the fiercest of the wind-driven fires now plaguing California in what has been one of the worst years for wildfires in the state. Paradise has been mostly destroyed in a quick-moving fire that forced thousands of residents to leave their homes.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said late Thursday. "It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a press conference.

An undetermined number of civilians and firefighters have been injured, and Maclean said earlier it could take days to determine the number of fatalities. "And just praying for a miracle, honestly", said Curtis, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said some firefighters were "literally pulling people out of burning homes".

"We're just hoping that our brand new home that we were hoping to move into tomorrow is not burned to the ground", Winstead said.

The Independence Day star panned the camera to show his property nestled in the trees before swinging it round to show the looming clouds of smoke.

Concerned friends and family posted frantic messages on Twitter and other sites saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone. (Reed Saxon/AP) Firefighters push a vehicle from a garage as the Woolsy fire burning a home near Malibu Lake in Malibu, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

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