2 victims of California wildfire were couple wed 75 years

This undated photo provided by their son Michael Rippey shows Charles and Sara Rippey. Charles, 100, and Sara, 98, were unable to leave their Napa, Calif., home, and died when the Tubbs fire swept through. Their bodies were found Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (Courtesy Michael Rippey via AP)

The Associated Press

Mike Rippey stood among pieces of metal, porcelain and other remnants of the California home where his 100-year-old father and 98-year-old mother had died in the raging wine country wildfires.

Rippey said Tuesday his brother had discovered their bodies after driving to the home and managing to get past security.

He said his father Charles appeared to be heading to the room of his mother, Sara, when he was overcome by the smoke and flames.

"My father certainly wouldn't have left her," Mike Rippey said.

The couple had met in grade school in Wisconsin and been together ever since, celebrating their 75th anniversary last year.

Rippey, 71, said he and his siblings couldn't imagine how either parent would have navigated life if just one had survived the flames.

"We knew there's no way they would ever be happy, whoever was the last one. So they went together, and that's the way it worked," he said stoically.

Charles Rippey — nicknamed "Peach" as a toddler for his chubby cheeks — and his wife were among the 17 victims who have died in the fierce, fast-moving fires that started on Sunday and raged through neighborhoods. None of the other victims had been identified.

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