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California wild fire cuts honeymoon short for Menomonee Falls couple

At least 21 people are dead and nearly 700 are still missing in the wildfires that are tearing through Northern California.

That same fire cut a honeymoon short for a recently married Menomonee Falls couple.

Todd and Sarah Karpinski traveled to Santa Rosa, California an area that’s known for its wineries but now most of that has become ashes, along with the couple’s personal belongings and wedding rings.

The Karpinski’s exchanged their vows on Friday, October 6.

“It thought it was a very nice setting for a wedding,” explains Todd. “We love Napa wines so we were going to make a small honeymoon after the wedding.”

But Mother Nature had other plans. Around 2 A.M. on Monday they were woken up by the owner of their rental.

“When we saw the panic in her eyes and saw the fire, I would say we were out the door in 30 seconds,” says Todd. “We did not even consider our wedding rings, wedding materials, all of our clothes.”

With only their wallets and cell phones, the couple drove to a community center where the chaos continued.

“We’re both in healthcare and we noticed that they were unloading some buses of folks in nursing homes,” explains Todd. “It was pretty chaotic, no one was really in charge so we stepped in and tried to unload some of the elderly.”

Not knowing where the fire would strike next, the couple decided to leave the area driving about 50 miles south to Vallejo, California where they finished their honeymoon.

“The owner [of the rental] actually left us a message on the way back from the airport confirming that the house was completely gone,” says Todd. “We’re thankful that she was there to get us out so I think we kind of owe our lives to her.”

Todd and Sarah don’t remember any fire alarms going off, and say if it wasn’t for that early morning wakeup call they feel things could have gone much worse.

“Obviously we’ll have to go and replace those things but as we’ve been saying for the past several days, they’re just things and they can be replaced,” explains Todd. “A lot of people have lost their lives, we feel very lucky.”

The couple says they’re happy their family left the day before the fire started.

As for the rings, the couple thinks they may have to invest in new ones.

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