ATF investigating 5th fire at Jehovah’s Witness centers in Washington this year

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

ATF investigating 5th fire at Jehovah’s Witness centers in Washington this year

PHOTO: The Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.KOMO
WATCH Suspected arsonist is targeting Jehovah’s Witnesses centers, police say

Federal authorities in Washington state are investigating the latest in a troubling series of arson cases at worship halls for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The latest fire broke out Friday at a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Washington, completely destroying the building. The Seattle branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ruled the fire an arson on Saturday. The fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. and no one was in the building at the time, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fire was the fifth at a Kingdom Hall in Thurston County this year, according to the ATF. All of the cases remain unsolved.

PHOTO: The Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.KOMO
The Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.more +

“Why is this specific religion being targeted? Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the latest arson on Friday, calling it an “abhorrent act.”

Governor Jay Inslee

@GovInslee

The freedom to worship is a right that should be protected for every person in our country. Our thoughts are with the members of our community affected by this abhorrent act.

KING 5 News

@KING5Seattle

The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey was destroyed Friday morning by a fire that detectives call suspicious. https://kng5.tv/2RHVciB 

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The most recent fire before Friday’s was on Aug. 8 when someone attempted to burn down a Kingdom Hall in Yelm, Washington, about 15 miles southeast of Lacey. There was minimal damage, but police also found a dummy device designed to look like an explosive. Someone opened fire on that same hall in May, spraying it with 35 rounds and causing $10,000 in damage, according to KOMO.

On March 19, fires were started at Kingdom Halls in Olympia and Tumwater. Tumwater and Olympia are only 3 miles apart. Police released surveillance video at the time showing a man at the Tumwater center dressed in jeans and a navy blue hoodie pouring gasoline from a gallon jug and then lighting it on fire.

After suffering minor damage in March, the Olympia Kingdom Hall was destroyed by a second fire in July.

PHOTO: Someone set a small fire and left a fake bomb at a Jehovahs Witness hall in Yelm, Wash., on Aug. 8, 2018. The case was part of a series of fires and attacks at Kingdom Halls.KOMO
Someone set a small fire and left a fake bomb at a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Yelm, Wash., on Aug. 8, 2018. The case was part of a series of fires and attacks at Kingdom Halls.more +

No one has been injured in any of the incidents, all of which have occurred in the early morning hours when no one was inside the buildings.

The ATF announced in July it has connected the arson cases in Yelm, Olympia and Tumwater — as well as the shooting in Yelm. It’s not yet clear if Friday’s fire is also connected.

“ATF is doing everything in its utmost power to contribute to solving this crime with our partners in Thurston County,” ATF special agent-in-charge Jonathan Blais told KOMO.

The ATF is offering a combined $36,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect.

ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman and Amanda Maile contributed to this report.

Massive fire in Mumbai’s Aarey forest near Infinity IT Park doused

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Massive fire in Mumbai’s Aarey forest near Infinity IT Park doused

According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

INDIA Updated: Dec 04, 2018 08:49 IST

Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai fire,fire at Aarey forest,sanjay gandhi national park
A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday evenin(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday evening. The fire broke out behind Infinity IT Park at General AK Vaidya Marg, Dindoshi.

No casualties were reported till late evening.

The fire, which broke out at around 6:21 pm escalated to level three by 8:05 pm. According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

Activist Zoru Bhathena said, “Although there might be no human casualties but there might be a huge green cover loss. Also, it is likely that there may be many animals and birds stuck in the forest fire. The cause also needs to get investigated as it may be an attempt to encroach the land by later claiming it to be a barren land.”

Ten fire engines, seven jumbo tankers and three quick response vehicles have been pressed into action to battle the fire.

Fire officials on ground are also using green branches to douse the fire. After the fire started to spread to the other side of the forest, the disaster control room intimated the nearby police stations to evacuate adivasis and cattles, if any, present in the area. The disaster control room officials, however, confirmed that no one was stuck in the fire.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 21:45 IST

Camp Fire: 63 dead, 631 deemed missing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MERCURY NEWS)

 

Camp Fire: 63 dead, 631 deemed missing; second point of origin for inferno explored

Death count matches 1989 Loma Prieta quake; inferno jeopardizes future of fire-ravaged towns in shadow of Paradise

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A home destroyed in the Camp Fire is photographed in Magalia, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. Magalia is one of the small towns struggling to pick up the pieces after the devastating wildland fire swept through. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

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MAGALIA — When the Camp Fire first tore through Butte County, John Pohmajevich stayed put in the small town of Magalia — a place he’s called home for several years now. He knew if he left, there would be no telling when he would be able to return.

On Thursday, the San Mateo native surveyed the devastating damage the fire’s left in its wake and recalled the last time he saw something like this: the Loma Prieta earthquake that shook the Bay Area in 1989.

“I thought (Loma Prieta) was bad, with the freeways crumbling,” Pohmajevich said. “But it was still not as bad as this.”

The Camp Fire has now killed 63 people to date, matching the number of fatalities in the Bay Area temblor, with 631 more still considered missing — 501 more than the figure given a day earlier. Sheriff Kory Honea said the figure spiked because authorities were constantly vetting both previous and incoming reports.

“They continued to work into the night and then ultimately they updated it,” Honea said. “I am fine with them updating that because I would rather get that information out than to wait too long to do that.”

Among the latest death toll were the remains of three people in Paradise, three in Magalia, and one in Concow. Honea said investigators have tentatively identified 53 fire victims.

Also Thursday, Cal Fire officials announced a possible second origin of the fire in the Concow area. The first point of origin was in Pulga. The California Highway Patrol also has removed 165 vehicles from the fire zone.

This weekend, President Donald Trump will view the devastation firsthand when he visits victims of the deadly Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. To date, the blaze has destroyed 9,700 homes and 11,862 structures overall.

When the fire began burning through Butte County last week — 141,000 acres and counting, with 40 percent containment — residents of of the 11,000-population Magalia and 700-resident Concow, two small towns in the shadows of Paradise, were left scrambling to escape. Now, as they grapple with grief and loss, some are contemplating whether to pick up the pieces and rebuild, or whether to move on.

“I think a lot of people aren’t going to want to come back. If this town recovers … if .. it’s going to take years and years and years,” Pohmajevich said. “This community was broke before the fire.”

He noted that towns like Magalia and Concow rely on cities like Paradise and Chico as an economic lifeline, and now one of them has virtually been taken off the map.

“The business was in Paradise,” Pohmajevich said.

Many people came to these two communities because they liked the peace and tranquility it offered. People “want to live in these areas because they like it,” said Congressman Doug LaMalfa, a Republican who represents Butte County and has been coordinating relief efforts with the federal government.

“The people are very resilient up there,” LaMalfa said, but acknowledged that “putting everything back together again is going to be a fairly long-term process.”

LaMalfa understands that some residents, by necessity or choice, won’t rebuild in places like Magalia and Concow.

But for residents who do return, LaMalfa wants the rebuilding process to result in better infrastructure — sewer rather than septic systems, underground PG&E lines. He also wants to see trees removed from along roadways and around towns and cities so emergency crews have more “defensible space” to rely on when fires erupt.

“I think many will want to try again,” LaMalfa said, especially if the infrastructure is better. “The support that’s poured in from all over the state and all over the country is pretty amazing. People feel pretty good that a lot of folks are on their side.”

Jesus “Zeus” Fernandez, one of the first Camp Fire fatalities to be publicly identified, lived in Concow and valued the sense of community life in one of the state’s more rugged areas offered.

But the landscape made the prospect of escaping a deadly inferno like the Camp Fire difficult.

“When the fire started that morning, the residents of the Concow area were hit first and seemingly hardest,” reads a GoFundMe fundraising page created in his honor. “Before Paradise, and with the least amount of warning. Many of his neighbors recall having only about 10 minutes to evacuate before driving through walls of flames and flying embers. Worst thing about Concow, is there’s only one way in and one way out. No fire warning system, virtually nonexistent cell service, and brutal terrain.”

Pohmajevich said the allure of the outer regions of Butte County lie in their serenity. He moved to the area after a career as a boat mechanic to support his elderly parents who retired to Magalia after spending their lives in the Bay Area.

“People move up here for the peace. You don’t have a lot of people. You don’t have traffic,” he said. “And there’s very good people up here.”

Michael Earhart, 75, another longtime Magalia resident who steadfastly refused to leave his home — in part to avoid being separated from his beloved parakeet Max —  isn’t going anywhere. He has kept on in part by visits from search-and-rescue and other emergency personnel dropping off water and food, though what he is currently fixated on is a propane refill.

“It’s a gorgeous place,” Earhart said.  “I don’t know where else I can go.”

Staff writer Jason Green contributed to this report.


Seeking missing people from the Camp Fire

Anyone seeking information about people missing in the wake of the Camp Fire, or want to report someone missing or accounted for, can view the latest list from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at buttecounty.net/sheriffcoroner and call one of the following three hotlines: 530-538-6570, 530-538-7544, 530-538-7671.


 

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Our “Idiot-In -Chief” Tweets His Ignorance About California Wildfires-Twice

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

President Trump’s tweet on California wildfires angers firefighters, celebrities

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s tweet blaming “gross mismanagement” for the devastating California wildfires is sparking a backlash from top firefighters’ associations, politicians and celebrities.

In a series of tweets Saturday, Trump said the state’s deadly wildfires are a result of poor forest management and threatened to cut federal aid.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
He doubled down Sunday in another tweet, again blaming forest management.
“With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get smart!” Trump tweeted.

Official: Tweet is ‘ill-informed’

Trump’s first tweet drew the ire of the leaders of firefighters’ organizations, who accused the President of bringing politics into a devastating disaster.
The Camp Fire in Northern California has killed 23 people and burned 108,000 acres. The Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has killed at least two and has scorched 83,275 acres. The Hill fire in Ventura County has ravaged 4,531 acres.
“His comments are reckless and insulting to the firefighters and people being affected,” said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
The president of the California Professional Firefighters said the message is an attack on some of the people fighting the devastating fires.
“The President’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” Brian K. Rice said.
“In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.”
Rice also said Trump’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame “is dangerously wrong.”
“Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography,” he said.

‘Fires do not respect politics’

State Sen. Henry Stern, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said fires aren’t about politics or jurisdictions.
“Fires do not respect politics, though, so I would beg the President to pursue a major disaster declaration and not make this a political incident,” Stern said. “We have many parties, many views out here, and it’s really not about politics, it is about people.”
A number of celebrities also responded to Trump’s tweet Saturday.
“This is an absolutely heartless response,” singer Katy Perry tweeted. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio also weighed in, blaming the fires on climate change.
“The reason these wildfires have worsened is because of climate change and a historic drought,” he tweeted. “Helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a partisan issue.”
In between Trump’s tweets blaming forest management, he also paid tribute to those affected by the fire.
“More than 4,000 are fighting the Camp and Woolsey Fires in California that have burned over 170,000 acres,” Trump tweeted. “Our hearts are with those fighting the fires … The destruction is catastrophic. God Bless them all.”

In Brazil’s National Museum Fire, Officials Fear ‘Incalculable’ Loss Of Artifacts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

 

In Brazil’s National Museum Fire, Officials Fear ‘Incalculable’ Loss Of Artifacts

A fire burned Sunday at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

Buda Mendes/Getty Images

A massive fire that engulfed Brazil’s National Museum Sunday night has left staff and officials fearful that many of the nation’s most precious artifacts have been lost forever.

The museum housed 20 million items, including objects that tell the story of Brazil’s past: the first fossil discovered there, the oldest female skull found in the Americas and the nation’s largest meteorite.

First built in 1818 as a residence for Portugal’s royal family, the edifice also contained insects, mummies, paintings and dinosaur bones.

It had priceless items from ancient Egypt, Greece and Italy, and served as a prominent research institution.

Brazilian President Michel Temer called the damage an “incalculable” loss for the country. “Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge have been lost,” he said in a tweet Sunday. “It’s a sad day for all Brazilians.”

Firefighters worked for hours to fight the flames, using water from a nearby lake because two hydrants weren’t working, a fire official said.

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

The fire broke out around 7:30 p.m., after the museum shut its doors to the public, according to a statement from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, which manages the museum.

It spread with astonishing speed, demolishing wood, documents and other flammable materials in its wake. Some flames towered over the museum, illuminating the night sky.

Firefighters were slow to fight the blaze because two hydrants near the museum weren’t working, a fire official told media. They had to use water from a nearby lake.

It is not immediately clear what caused the fire or what the extent of the damage is. The fire department said they were able to save some objects from the burning building.

No injuries were reported according to the statement.

The morning after the fire, people gathered outside the museum to mourn its losses.

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

People gathered outside the grounds on Monday to stare at the charred structure and its remains, crying and criticizing.

Staff say the museum was chronically underfunded. Vice director Luiz Duarte told O Globo, “We have never had efficient and urgent support.”

He also said the museum had been guaranteed about $5 million from the Brazilian government’s development bank, with some money allocated for fire prevention.

The staff had just gone through fire training and arranged for flammable items, such as animals kept in bottles with alcohol and formaldehyde, to be removed from the building. “The most terrible irony,” Duarte reportedly said.

He also told the newspaper that the fire destroyed frescoes of Pompeii, language collections and the entire collection of the Empress Tereza Cristina, who was nicknamed “the Mother of the Brazilians.”

The fire comes before elections in October, and as the country’s economy is suffering.

“It’s an international catastrophe. It goes beyond ‘a sad day,'” Brent Glass, director emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, told NPR. “Everyone in the museum community has to get behind our colleagues in Brazil and see what we could do to help them.”

(Theology Poem) The Second Death

THE SECOND DEATH

 

Tell me, can a man die a second time for the same crimes

Can a hanged man be brought back just to be hanged again

When the heart stops can you be revived, just to die again

When lightning strikes can electricity bring the heart back

These things are certainly true, yet they’re not of what I mean

 

Once we die and our brain has stopped, the first death has come

All who have ever lived, will be raised from the dead, one time

The time is coming when they all shall hear Christ’s voice, and arise

Those who did good in their life shall rise to God’s eternal love

For those who were evil they shall face the resurrection of damnation

 

The Father raised His Son Jesus Christ, who only had only once to die

In like manner shall all the followers of Christ be raised to eternal life

Those who knew not the Father nor the Son shall rise unto the flames

They who believed not the love of the Truth, they shall die once again

The Second Death is separation from God, into Hell’s eternal flames

 

 

 

South Korea: Hospital Fire Kills At Least 37

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) South Korea’s deadliest fire in almost a decade has ripped through a hospital in the city of Miryang, killing at least 37 people and injuring more than 100.

Authorities revised the death toll down from 39 on Friday afternoon, but a Miryang City official warned it could rise as at least 18 patients remained in critical condition.
The fire comes less than a month after a similar tragedy left 29 dead in the city of Jecheon, raising concerns over lax safety standards in the country.
Officials said they were still investigating the cause of Friday’s fire, which is believed to have started around 7:20 a.m. local time in the emergency room on the first floor of the 98-bed Sejong Hospital.

Rescue workers remove bodies from a hospital fire on Friday, January 26, in Miryang, South Korea.

Rescue services took three hours to completely extinguish the flames, which engulfed the first two floors of the six-story building in Miryang, which is about 270 kilometers (168 miles) southeast of the capital, Seoul.
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Sprinklers were not installed in the building due to its small size, the hospital’s chairman, Son Kyung-chul, told reporters.

Patients had breathing problems, difficulty walking

The hospital’s director bowed in apology to the patients and victim’s families during the briefing. Seok Gyeong-sik also said he would do his best to take care of the incident.

A person injured in the fire is carried to safety Friday in Miryang, South Korea.

The majority of those killed in the blaze are believed to be elderly patients, said Chun Jae-kyung, head of the public medical center in Miryang.
“Because the hospital had many intensive care units and elderly patients, there were a lot of people with breathing problems,” Chun said. Most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation.

Firefighters work to put out the blaze Friday as smoke billows from the Sejong Hospital.

The hospital is adjacent to a nursing home and shares many of the same facilities. All the patients inside the nursing home were rescued, authorities confirmed.
Footage aired on local TV showed emergency workers battling the blaze, as hospital staff rushed to evacuate patients, carrying those unable to walk on their backs.
Kim Dae-hyun, the owner of a shop next to the hospital, told CNN that many of the patients at the dual medical facility were in their 80s and 90s and were unable to walk without help.
By late afternoon Friday, emergency personnel had posed a list of names identifying the victims onto a wall close to the hospital. Patients’ family members crowded to check the pages.

Fire safety rules questioned

For many in South Korea, Friday’s blaze will bring back painful memories of 2014, when a fire at a nursing home in the southern county of Jangseong killed 21 patients, many of whom were left trapped due to their inability to escape unaided.
The recent spate of deadly fires in South Korea has led to questions over the government’s ability to enforce sufficient safety measures.

Rescue workers remove a survivor from the hospital fire Friday in Miryang, South Korea.

Two men were arrested following the deadly building fire in December that killed 29 people. The building’s owner is accused of violating fire safety regulations and committing involuntary homicide by negligence. The building’s manager is accused of involuntary homicide.
That fire is suspected to have started in a parked vehicle on the ground floor and quickly consumed the eight-story building. Many of the bodies were found in a public bath on the second floor.
After Friday’s fire, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called an emergency staff meeting. In a statement, Moon promised to quickly identify the cause of the fire in order “to prevent the recurrence of the fire in the future.”

Philippines Mall Dozens Trapped and Feared Dead in Fire

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

At least 37 people were trapped inside a burning shopping mall in the southern Philippines city of Davao. The cause of the fire remains unknown. CreditYas D. Ocampo, via Reuters

MANILA — Fire crews battling an enormous blaze that tore through a shopping mall in a southern city in the Philippines, trapping at least 37 people, pulled one body from the building, the mayor said on Sunday.

But the vice mayor said there was “zero” chance of survival for the other 36.

Firefighters have been unable to enter the mall in Davao City after the fire started on Saturday morning, the vice mayor, Paolo Duterte, said.

“Our firemen are still struggling to find a way in as the fire is still burning,” Mr. Duterte said. He said of those still trapped inside, “Their chances of survival is zero.”

Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said that one body had been recovered and that rescuers’ priority was now to find all those who are missing.

“Do not stop until you find the 37,” she said, calling the mall fire “an unfortunate incident.”

Photo

The blaze began Saturday morning. Twenty-four hours later the fire continued to burn, making it too dangerous for firefighters to enter the building. CreditManman Dejeto/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The blaze erupted as city officials and emergency-relief workers were trying to rescue survivors of flash floods and landslides unleashed by Tropical Storm Tembin elsewhere in the region. The storm slammed into the eastern portion of Mindanao late Thursday, dumping torrential rains.

Continue reading the main story

By Sunday, the death toll stood at 231, officials said, with scores more missing.

President Rodrigo Duterte, the father of Davao City’s mayor and vice mayor, visited the mall on Saturday night and met with family members of those inside. Photographs released by his office showed him consoling relatives and wiping tears from his eyes.

The president, who was previously mayor of Davao City and was in town for the holidays, “assured the relatives of the victims that the government would extend help,” said Harry Roque, Mr. Duterte’s spokesman.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. Officials said the blaze started near a furniture store on the building’s third floor. Many locals were doing their Christmas shopping, and employees were wrapping up their workweek before the holiday. Officials said many of the people trapped inside worked at a call center inside the mall.

More than 24 hours later, the building remained on fire and was too dangerous to enter, the authorities said.

“We are currently coordinating with the authorities,” said Thea Septaan Padua, a spokeswoman for the mall, adding that for now, no deaths had been confirmed.

The authorities have been on heightened alert amid fears that Islamist militants could target shopping malls and other public areas. In September, when the president was visiting Davao, militants who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State bombed a night market in the city, killing 15 people.

Thomas Fire is the largest blaze in California history

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Thomas Fire is the largest blaze in California history

Strong wind blows embers from smoldering trees at the Thomas Fire last week in Montecito, California.

(CNN)The Thomas Fire is now the largest wildfire in California’s modern history after torching 273,400 acres.

The blaze has surpassed the size of the Cedar Fire near San Diego, which destroyed 273,246 acres in 2003, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.
Cal Fire has compiled a list of the biggest fires since 1932.
The Thomas Fire has devastated swaths of Southern California since it began on December 4 fueled by strong Santa Ana winds in Ventura County. It remains as the third-most destructive in structure losses, with 1,063 buildings burned, according to Cal Fire.
As of Friday night, the blaze was only 65% contained. Firefighters have been battling the flames for nearly three weeks in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and are expected to continue working around the clock until January 7, fire officials said.
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Currently, there are more than 2,800 firefighters trying to put down the flames.
Improving weather conditions have helped firefighters in the past days. A higher humidity and cooler temperatures have decreased the threat of new fires, leading authorities to continue lifting evacuations that had forced thousands to leave their homes.

The latest

• Long-awaited rain: The fire area has not received any rainfall over .10 inches since February, Cal Fire said. No rain is expected in the next weeks.
• Hefty price tag: About $110 million has been spent fighting the massive blaze, fire officials said. This year has been the costliest for wildfires in US history. Damages have topped $10 billion, and that was before the current fires began in Southern California.
• Size: The Thomas Fire has burned an area larger than New York City, Washington, DC, and San Francisco combined — and larger than any city in California except Los Angeles.
• Casualties: One firefighter has been killed since the Thomas Fire began. Cory Iverson, from the San Diego unit of Cal Fire, was killed on December 14.

Security Guard Set Fire To Nursery School: 4 Children 1 Teacher Dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM AND THE BBC)

 

Four Children and a Teacher Killed After a Security Guard Sets Fire to Brazil Nursery School

Oct 05, 2017

Four young children and a teacher have been killed in what is believed to be an arson attack at a nursery school in Brazil.

Authorities said the suspect is a security guard who allegedly set fire to the daycare center, in Janauba, a town in southeastern Minas Gerais state, the BBC reports.

A further 25 people — mostly children aged between four and five — were hospitalized with burns, with some requiring specialist care at a burns unit in the state capital.

One parent whose son died in the attack told local media that the family was about to move to another neighborhood, according to the BBC.

“I woke up early to drop him at the nursery,” Jane Kelly da Silva Soares told the local O Globo newspaper. “When I saw him again he was already dead in hospital.”

The guard, identified by authorities as 50-year-old Damiao dos Santos, set himself alight at the scene and later died of his injuries in hospital. Police are still looking into the causes of the attack.

Local media reports that dos Santos was sacked from his post in September, upon returning from his annual leave reportedly with a health condition.

President Michael Temer tweeted: “I’m very sorry about this tragedy involving children in Janauba. I want to express my sympathy to the families.”

Janauba’s mayor has declared a seven-day mourning period.

[BBC]

ARJung

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