Newfoundland woman searching for family missing in Northern California

first_imgLEWISPORTE, N.L. — A Newfoundland woman is pleading for help finding missing family members nearly 7,000 kilometres away in the California town of Paradise, a fire-ravaged community at the epicentre of the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.Randy and Paula Dodge are among hundreds of people reported missing after a massive blaze, called the Camp Fire, levelled the Northern California town of 27,000.At least 42 people have been confirmed dead in the area.Megan Janes, the couple’s niece, said she’s been in contact with the sheriff of Butte County and that a search party has visited her aunt and uncle’s home twice.Searchers found the charred remains of their house and the burned-out shells of their vehicles — but no bodies, she said.“We just don’t know what happened,” she said in an interview from her home in Lewisporte in central Newfoundland, adding that calls to local shelters and hospitals have also yielded no information about the fate of the couple in their late 60s.“The hope is because there were no bodies on the scene, someone picked them up and helped them. But so far there is no word. We have no clue.”The family has tried to remain hopeful that the couple managed to evacuate before the inferno swept through the town, Janes said.But after several days with no information on their whereabouts, she said the family is starting to prepare for the worst.“In the beginning there was hope,” Janes said through tears. “We’re still praying and we’re still hoping but honestly at this point I think we’re preparing.”Janes said her mother, a Canada-U.S. dual citizen who lives on the Avalon Peninsula, is praying for her brother.“I think God is giving her peace,” she said.Janes said she’s used social media to try to locate her aunt and uncle, noting that, “You could be miles and miles away but you can still help.”Meanwhile, authorities in California have moved to set up a rapid DNA-analysis system and bring in cadaver dogs, mobile morgues and more search teams to the Paradise area.“I want to recover as many remains as we possibly can, as soon as we can,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Monday night as he announced the discovery of 13 more dead.“I know the toll it takes on loved ones.”More than a dozen coroner search-and-recovery teams looked for bodies across the apocalyptic landscape that was once Paradise, while anxious relatives visited shelters and called police and hospitals in hopes of finding loved ones.The record-breaking Camp Fire is one of three wildfires wreaking havoc and devastation across California.The Woolsey Fire in Southern California has destroyed many homes — including those of celebrities such as Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young. The smaller Hill Fire is also in the state’s southern region.The Canadian Presslast_img

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