Over the last several days, wildfires have been spreading across Northern California. So far, at least 2,000 buildings have been destroyed and over 20,000 residents have been evacuated.
As of Wednesday morning, at least 21 people have died and another 183 have been reported as missing. The fires have burnt over 115,000 acres of land.
Now, a sad but inspiring story has emerged during this natural disaster. 100-year-old Charles and 98-year-old Sara Rippey died together in their Napa home during the wildfires.
The couple spent a total of 89 years together and were married for 75 years. Their children said that they did not know how they would have survived without each other.
Mike Rippey said, "We often talked among ourselves about how either one of them would deal with life without the other. Especially my father. He loved my mother."
Charles and Sara's love story began when they were in elementary school. Their son said that after his father went away to fight in WWII, he returned to Sara and they began their life together. They had five children in total.
Charles would call his wife "the Queen" and Sara would refer to her husband as "Peach." According to the Washington Post, Charles was a mechanical engineer, tire salesman, and manufacturer. Sara was a homemaker and "avid bridge player."
Mike said that his parents recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. He said that he has reason to believe that his father died trying to save his mother.
He said, "From where they found his body, he was trying to get from his room to her room. He never made it. Even if he had gotten there, he wouldn't have been able to get her out. ... And there is no way he would have left."
The couple's granddaughter, Ruby Gibney, said that the only thing "worse would have been if one survived without the other."
Mike Rippey said that the couple's caregiver tried to rescue them, but was too late. Their other son, Chuck, commented on the situation as well.
He said, “The caregiver called me and said that there was fire everywhere. I said just get those guys out on the street, and before she knew it, the roof was caving in and all that, so it was very fast. Very fast... She went down to get my father and all the windows started to explode and [there was] smoke and heat and all that everywhere. She just couldn’t find them.”
The couple had lived in their Napa home for 35 years. Their love story, though with a sad ending, is inspiring. They stuck together until the very end.
Please continue praying for those who have lost loved ones or their homes because of these violent fires. For more breaking news, read our latest article about the American hostage and family who were freed from captors after 5 years.