Elderly woman missing as fire moves into Calimesa
By STEFANIE DAZIO AND CHRISTOPHER WEBER Associated Press
CALIMESA, Calif. (AP) — Don Turner’s 89-year-old mother was missing Thursday night after a wind-driven wildfire sparked by burning trash swept through a Southern California mobile home park, destroying dozens of residences.
Lois Arvickson called her son from her cellphone to say she was evacuating shortly after the blaze was reported in the Calimesa area, Turner said while with family members at an evacuation center.
“She said she’s getting her purse and she’s getting out, and the line went dead,” he said.
Arvickson’s neighbors saw in her garage as flames approached, according to Turner. A short time later the neighbors saw the garage on fire, but they don’t know if she’d managed to escape, he said.
Riverside County fire officials said they’re still trying to determine if anybody is unaccounted for after 74 structures were decimated.
Previously authorities said they responded to “numerous” medical emergencies at the park. Several residents were transported to hospitals but there were no details on their conditions, county fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said.
Turner said he’s been checking hospitals.
Fire danger is high throughout California after the typically dry summer and early fall. The high temperatures and winds predicted for inland areas of Southern California materialized mid-afternoon Thursday, when the driver of a commercial trash truck dumped a smoldering load to prevent the vehicle from catching fire.
Dry grass quickly ignit