Death toll in Northern California fire now 23
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) - Authorities called in a mobile DNA lab and anthropologists to help identify the dead as the search went on for victims of the most destructive wildfire in California history. The death toll stood at 23 Sunday and appeared likely to climb.
With the town of Paradise reduced to a smoking ruin and the fire still raging in surrounding communities, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the Northern California county was bringing in a fifth search and recovery team.
An anthropology team from California State University at Chico was also assisting, because in some cases "the only remains we are able to find are bones or bone fragments."
The department compiled a list of 110 people unaccounted for, but officials held out hope that many were safe but had no cellphones or some other way to contact loved ones.
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