FRESNO, Calif. — The destruction from the camp fire can be seen for miles, thousands of structures destroyed. Homes are now piles of rubble and hundreds are still missing.
While the flames rage on, the search and recovery efforts are already beginning.
On Sunday our local departments deployed. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office sent 5 deputies, a sergeant and a detective coroner. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office sent a Lt. and 2 Deputy Coroners.
“The devastation is hard to comprehend,” said Lt. Robert Woodrum, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Robert Woodrum and the 2 other Deputy Coroners said it is unlike anything they have ever done.
“Typically our Deputy Coroners here know what they are going to, somebody has already found the body,” said Tony Botti, Fresno County Sheriffs Spokesperson.
“We had to be taught what to look for,” said Lt. Woodrum.
Woodrum said the fire’s temperatures were so intense that some victims have literally been incinerated leaving them with very little evidence to go on.
“The people we have recovered in these homes are skeletons,” said Lt. Woodrum.
Finding the victims is an incredible feat in itself because they are dealing with dangerous obstacles like downed wires, trees, and collapsing homes. Often times they don’t even know what they’re standing on.
“A lot of people are stepping on all the nails and we had somebody fall into a septic tank,” said Lt. Woodrum.
Woodrum said he won’t stop because he wants to bring peace to the families who have lost so much..
“I hope we find every person that has passed away in this fire. We owe it to them to find them,” said Woodrum.
Woodrum and the 2 Deputy Coroners will head home on Wednesday. 3 others will replace them as well as 14 search and rescue volunteers.