California fire victim was animal enthusiast


A home burns during the Bear fire, part of the North Lightning Complex fires in the Berry Creek area of unincorporated Butte County, California on September 9, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California woman killed in one of the state’s wildfires was known as an animal lover who would often rescue stray dogs and cats.

Authorities confirmed Friday that 77-year-old Millicent Catarancuic died near her home in Berry Creek, California. Catarancuic’s nephew, Zygy Roe-Zurz, said she loved animals and had four dogs and several cats at her five acre property in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco.

Zurs said Catarancuic was “sharp as a whip” and loved to play FreeCell, saying she could win the game in about 80 seconds.

Authorities say nine people have died in the North Complex fire in Northern California. Zurs said his mother, Susan Zurs, and his uncle, Phil Rubel, also lived at the property and are missing.

Holly Catarancuic, Millicent Catarancuic’s daughter, said her mom had lived in Berry Creek for about eight years. She said her mom had been very happy and the property was a “safe haven” for the family.

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