The Camp Fire claimed its 86th victim on Aug. 5, according to a Butte County Sheriff’s Office press release. Paul Ernest, a 72-year-old Paradise man, spent the last nine months of his life at hospitals being treated for burn injuries.
According to news reports, Ernest and his wife, Suzie, became trapped in Paradise on Nov. 8 while fleeing the blaze. They sought refuge behind a boulder, where Ernest shielded his wife. They were rescued and flown to UC Davis Medical Center. Suzie was discharged earlier this year, and has been recovering in Chico. Ernest was on a ventilator and died at a rehabilitative facility in West Sacramento after his lungs stopped functioning.
Of the 86 dead, BCSO has yet to conclusively identify six.