Son speaks about father, the latest Camp Fire death

Nine months to the day of the Camp Fire, the death toll, officials say, rose to 86. Action News Now reporter Laura Eng spoke with the son of a Camp Fire burn victim who succumbed to his injuries on Monday.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 11:04 PM
Updated: Aug 9, 2019 1:05 AM

PARADISE, Calif. -- Nine months to the day of the Camp Fire, the death toll, officials say, rose to 86. Action News Now reporter Laura Eng spoke with the son of a Camp Fire burn victim who succumbed to his injuries on Monday.

If you ask Jessee Ernest what his dad, 72-year-old Paul Ernest, was like, he'd say he was larger than life itself.

Paul Ernest and his wife Suzie got third-degree burns all over their body while trying to escape Paradise during the Camp Fire. They were hospitalized in Sacramento.

"You know obviously we thought they'd be out by Christmas or New Years and that was far, far from the way that it worked out," Jessee Ernest said.

Jessee Ernest said his mother recovered, but for months, his father had several health complications and ultimately passed away.

"It happened, pretty rapidly, more than you could expect. I don't know if you could ever expect it and it was like it was just torture," Jessee Ernest said. 

As for what's next for the Ernest family, Jessee said his family picked up some good advice in the hospital, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.

"Nothing is going to happen fast and you know you gotta just live and you gotta get by," Jessee Ernest said.

With Ernest passing, the BCSO just changed the number of people who died in the Camp Fire from 85 to 86. 

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