Sadia Quint has every indication her uncle has perished in the Camp Fire. But no one can tell her for sure.
“We already know that his house has been burned down and his car was in his garage,” she said. “So now we’re just waiting for the sheriff’s department to go out there and let us know if his body’s in there or not.”
Like hundreds of families, Quint fluctuates between holding out hope and resigning to the notion that her loved one is gone. In the decimated California town of Paradise, where her uncle David William Marbury lived, the odds of survival seem bleak.
At least 1,300 people remain unaccounted for since the Camp Fire started its deadly rampage across Northern California 10 days ago. The inferno is still raging out of control as sheriff’s deputies, National Guard members and coroners sift through rubble.
“We’re being patient just because we know we’re not the only family that’s going through this right now,” Quint told CNN. “So everyone’s kind of in it together, and everyone’s being really supportive.”
The Camp Fire has already killed 76 people, though many of the victims haven’t been identified. Some remains are charred beyond recognition. So Quint’s family has embarked on the grim task of providing DNA samples in case authorities find Marbury’s remains.
It’s not clear when Quint will learn the fate of her uncle, but she’s already referring to him in the past tense.
“He had respiratory issues and he had back problems and he was 66,” she said. “I mean it’s hard to think about him not being here anymore. But as a family, we have accepted whether we get good or bad news. So we’re just prepared for both.”