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Thousands flee as wildfires ravage northern California; 11 killed

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By Anthony Pucik

iStock/Thinkstock(ANAHEIM, Calif.) — At least 11 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured on Monday as massive wildfires swept through parts of northern California, destroying 1,500 residences and buildings, authorities said.

Firefighters were battling 17 fires across multiple counties around the state as of late Monday night, authorities said. Intensified by strong winds, the fires charred about 90,000 acres of land, destroyed at least 1,500 buildings and forced nearly 20,000 residents to evacuate.

St. Joseph Health said about 170 patients have been treated, many for burns and smoke inhalation, at three of its hospitals, including two in Sonoma County, where at least seven people died of fire-related injuries. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said the number of fatalities could increase. Authorities have received more than 100 phone calls to report on people who were purportedly missing, according to one Sonoma County official.

Many residents have been warned not to return to their homes until further notice.

Two of the largest blazes, dubbed the Tubbs and Atlas Fires by authorities, burned a combined 52,0000 acres of land in Napa County, where authorities said there was no containment so far.

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In Anaheim, 1,000 firefighters were mobilized to fight a blaze that burned an estimated 6,000 acres and destroyed at least 24 homes and businesses. At least 3,000 residents were evacuated and more than 5,000 structures were threatened by the flames.

With the flames sweeping through entire communities, some area hospitals have been evacuated. Evacuations were also issued for surrounding counties that are under threat, according to the Napa Valley Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses in Fountain Grove area near Santa Rosa said the flames there were so intense they melted the glass off of car and liquefied aluminum objects.

Jeff Okrepkie, a resident of Santa Rosa, said he fled his home of five years, knowing that it could very well be leveled once he returned. He seemed to be braced for he worst.

“All that good stuff, I’m never going to see it again,” Okrepkie told ABC’s San Francisco station KGO on Monday.

He said he and his wife tried their best to gather their most precious documents, photos and mementos, but it was impossible to grab everything in time.

Thirty-eight-year-old Mike Turpen said he was at a bar in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County when someone stormed in wearing a smoke mask and yelled “fire.” He said he rushed through flames in his Ford pickup truck with hopes of saving his home.

“It was like Armageddon was on,” Turpen told KGO. “Every branch of every tree was on fire,” he said, recalling his drive home.

Turpen said his yard, like those surrounding it, was scorched and still flaming in some spots, but he said he managed to keep his home from burning down.

The causes of the fires are unknown.

ABC News’ Rex Sakamoto and Marilyn Heck contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Friends 'just keep swimming' despite blindness and bone cancer

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By Anthony Pucik

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As 14-year-old Grace Bunke faced numerous rounds of chemotherapy to combat bone cancer, her friend McClain Hermes gave her a wall plaque with “Just keep swimming” etched into the wood.

That motto epitomizes their relationship.

The two teenagers met during a swim practice for BlazeSports, a nonprofit that supports children with physical disabilities through adaptive sports.

Hermes had double retinal detachments in both eyes at the age of 8, the result of Wagner Syndrome. She became completely blind in her right eye and is progressively losing her vision in her left eye.

McClain was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2014, faced 18 rounds chemotherapy and had a partial leg amputation known as rotationplasty to attempt to remove the cancer from her left leg.

“One day we were thrown in the same lane together and just instantly became friends,” said Hermes.

They help one another in and out of the water.

On land, Bunke provides a guiding arm to Hermes, who otherwise uses a cane. When they jump into the pool together, Bunke kicks ahead so that Hermes can follow her bubbles in a straight line.

All the practice has paid off. Hermes became the youngest Team U.S. athlete to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio and finished eighth in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke.

Bunke also won several medals in recent races in her home state of Georgia.

“We can compete in elite level sports and kick butt and win medals,” said Hermes.

After hopes that Bunke’s cancer had gone into remission following the extensive chemotherapy process, the cancer reemerged in her spine earlier this summer.

Hermes read about the life-threatening condition on Bunke’s mother’s CaringBridge page, where family and friends support one another through challenging health journeys.

“The day that we found out that [Grace’s] cancer had come back I wrote ‘Grace’ on my hand because she’s my best friend and that morning I just lied in bed crying because I don’t want to lose my best friend,” said Hermes.

Grace’s name stayed on Hermes’ hand throughout her qualifying heats for the Para Sport Festival in Mexico City. A number of other teammates and friends followed Hermes example and a sign of support for Grace.

“I know my friends and family are basically going through it too. So it’s like everyone’s fight,” said Bunke.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Scoreboard roundup -- 10/10/17

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By Anthony Pucik

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores from yesterday’s sports events:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Houston 5, Boston 4
N.Y. Yankees 7, Cleveland 3

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Chi Cubs 2, Washington 1
L.A. Dodgers 3, Arizona 1

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
St. Louis 3, N.Y. Islanders 2; SO
Colorado 4, Boston 0
New Jersey 6, Buffalo 2
Toronto 4, Chicago 3; OT
Tampa Bay 4, Washington 3; OT
Winnipeg 5, Edmonton 2
Calgary 2, Anaheim 0

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Minnesota 20, Chicago 17

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Source:: Sports News

      

Thousands flee as wildfires ravage northern California; 10 killed

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By Anthony Pucik

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — At least 10 people have died in fast-growing wildfires across northern California.

Firefighters were battling 17 fires across multiple counties around the state as of late Monday night, authorities said. Intensified by strong winds, the fires charred about 90,000 acres of land, destroyed at least 1,500 buildings and forced nearly 20,000 residents to evacuate.

Two of the largest blazes, dubbed the Tubbs and Atlas Fires by authorities, burned a combined 52,0000 acres of land in Napa County. They were less than 1 percent contained as of late Monday night.

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In Anaheim, hundreds of firefighters have mobilized to fight a blaze burning over an estimated 4,500 acres and destroyed at least 9 homes. At least 3,000 residents were evacuated and more than 5,000 structures were threatened by the flames.

With the flames sweeping through entire communities, some area hospitals have been evacuated. Evacuations were also issued for surrounding counties that are under threat, according to the Napa Valley Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Texas Tech University officer shot and killed, suspect in custody

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By KT

iStock/Thinkstock(LUBBOCK, Texas) — A suspect is in custody after allegedly shooting and killing a Texas Tech University officer.

“Earlier this evening, Texas Tech Police made a student welfare check. Upon entering the room, officers found evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Officers brought the suspect to the police station for standard debriefing,” a school spokesperson said in a statement.

“During this time, the suspect pulled a gun and shot an officer in the head. The officer is deceased,” the statement continued.

After allegedly shooting the officer, the suspect fled, leading police to lock down the campus as they searched for the suspect.

The lockdown has since been lifted, though police are urging people to avoid the north side of campus.

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Source:: National News

      

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