BERRY CREEK (CBS13) – Families in Butte County are coming forward desperately searching for their loved ones missing amid the North Complex West Zone fire.
Michelle Rancour-Aldridge is searching for her sister.
“They told me, ‘You can’t go up there, they have already stopped from going up there,’ ” she said.
Homes are burnt to the ground and years of memories are gone in Berry Creek. The North Complex West Zone left several people trapped. The missing included Kelly Burke, a mother in her late 40’s, and 16-year-old Josiah Williams.
Josiah’s mom, Jessica Williams, confirmed that DNA found confirmed her son Josiah was dead.
Michelle is praying her sister Kelly is safe after flames ripped through her Berry Creek home of 20 years.
She said neighbors told her that her sister Kelly left with friends. Michelle just wants to know she’s okay.
“That I love her and I’m glad she’s not it that house,” Michelle said.
Michelle’s husband John is hopeful for a safe return.
“I’ll hug her and tell her, ‘Welcome home, I’m so glad you’re here,’ ” he said.
These pleas for help were part of more than 120 calls for missing people. Some of the families were reunited with their loved ones Thursday night. The sheriff’s office said 98 people were found safely.
That includes Christina Som’s step-father who went missing for 24 hours after his house was destroyed on Lumpkin Road.
“We didn’t know if he was hurt or if something happened or if he needed help,” Som said.
Som said he was found Thursday with 10 of their neighbors who were left stranded in their cars overnight.
“[It was] a really big relief. I don’t know what to say. I was pretty much speechless,” Som said.
As of Thursday evening, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said 16 people remain unaccounted for. The sheriff’s office noted that the number of missing people is fluid and can change rapidly.
If you need to report a missing loved one, you can call 530-538-7671.