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Man dies in hospital; 2018 wildfire death toll rises to 86

Posted at 3:13 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 18:13:39-04

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A man who had been hospitalized since the deadliest wildfire in California history incinerated a town in November has died, raising the number of people killed to 86.

The Butte County Sherriff's Office said Thursday that 72-year-old Paul Ernest, of Paradise, had succumbed to his wounds.

Ernest's son, Jessee Ernest, says his father died Monday of complications from burns.

He says his father had been hospitalized since Nov. 8, when the fast-moving fire raced across the Sierra Nevada foothills, destroying nearly 15,000 homes in the city of 27,000 residents and surrounding hamlets.

Ernest says his father and mother, Suzie Ernest, tried to flee in an all-terrain vehicle but abandoned vehicles and fallen power lines blocked their path and they were burned while sheltering behind a boulder.