Why Older People Didn’t Fare Well In Northern California Wildfires
The night before the fire overtook LeRoy and Donna Halbur, the couple had dinner at their home north of Santa Rosa, Calif., with their eldest son, Dave, his wife and their 2-year-old son. Dave Halbur remembers it as a typical Sunday dinner with his folks.
We “had Chinese food and talked. It was a really nice evening,” Halbur recalls.
The fire came through a few hours later in the early morning darkness. By Monday, Dave Halbur had heard nothing from his parents. LeRoy and Donna Halbur were both 80.
More than 40 people have died in the wildfires in Northern California. That number could rise. More than 50 people are still missing, and investigators have been looking for remains in the ashes. But one thing stands out about those who perished: The vast majority who’ve been identified were over the age of 65.
“I spent much of the day going from shelter to shelter,” Halbur said of the search for his parents. “Then finally, I got a message to come home.”
That was because his wife’s stepfather had gone to LeRoy and Donna Halbur’s house along with some firefighters. They found the remains of two people: Donna Halbur was in the car in the garage area. LeRoy Halbur was outside. But that’s not how Dave Halbur would want them to be remembered.
Instead, remember them as “great parents,” said Halbur. “They were generous, really loved by their community.”
Read more at NPR.