Roy Gilbert

The Camp Fire’s 85th victim: Nearly a year later, authorities still have no explanation

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Reno Gazette Journal CONCOW, Calf. – The day after the Camp Fire ravaged the town of Concow, California — a small mountain hamlet directly east of the town of Paradise — a team of urban search and rescue personnel, coroner’s investigators and firefighters sifted through the charred husk of what was once a home along Schwyhart Lane.

Elsewhere, the fire was still raging. It would continue for another 16 days, but it had already taken the bulk of its toll on the ridge-top communities above Chico.

The team was in Concow on Nov. 9 on a morbid mission: to find the remains of those lost in the fire so they could be returned to their loved ones — a task carried out by dozens of teams like this all over the burned area.

At the Schwyhart Lane house, the team was looking for someone specific: a 72-year-old wife and mother named Ellen Walker who was feared to have not been able to escape.

They found her that day. Like most who fell victim to the intense heat of the Camp Fire, her body had been reduced to fragments of bone.

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But what that team did not know, as they meticulously collected the remains for transport to the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office, was that she was not the only person to die in that home.Mixed with Ellen’s bones were the remains of another person, whose identity […]

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