SANTA ROSA, Calif. (CBS13) – Sonoma County officials say 18 people died in the ferocious inferno Sunday night and hundreds of people are still missing.
One mobile home park is now a recovery site.
On Friday, cadaver dogs sniffed for remains, while search crews and volunteers sifted through the charred rubble that was once a community of more than 300 hundred mobile homes.
They inspected every piece of melted metal, mattress, and wheelchair, attempting to recover bodies amid the ashes.
“We start with a bedroom because this fire occurred at night we think a lot of people were in their bedrooms,” said Sonoma County Sheriff’s Spokesman Spencer Crum.
It was a team effort, with searchers participating from across Northern California. They know for sure two people are missing. But investigators say there’s a possibility they could find more along the way.
Hazards are everywhere — from blackened, brittle trees, to nails, propane tanks, and broken glass. And then there’s the emotional toll.
“The searchers have a hard time…I mean, we’re all humans…it’s hard to come over here day after day after day. And everybody deals with it differently…it’s emotionally draining,” said Crum.
Adding to the anguish, investigators believe many of the residents were elderly and couldn’t escape the fast-moving flames.
A tractor is on standby to help searchers dig through the debris.
Ironically, the name of the community is “Journey’s End.”