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Shelters Open Across Butte County To Aide Fire Victims

About 200 people who fled their homes following the most destructive wildfire in California history have packed into a Northern California church where counselors, chaplains and nursing students from Chico State University were available to help. The Neighborhood Church in Chico was one of more than a half-dozen facilities helping house people displaced by the blaze, which has killed at least 42 people. James Woods is a director at the church and said Tuesday it will stay open “as long as it’s needed.” Volunteers are cooking three meals a day, and there is a large bulletin board with information about missing people. Greg Gibson searched a shelter in Chico on Tuesday for information about his missing neighbors. He doesn’t know if they tried to leave or not but says the fire exploded so quickly that if they hesitated, they would have had trouble. It’s not clear how many people are unaccounted for in the fire that ignited last week. Harold Taylor says he barely made it out of his house alive Thursday morning. The 72-year-old Vietnam veteran who walks with a cane says he tried to convince his neighbor to get in his car with him, but the neighbor declined. He doesn’t know what happened to his friend.