Wisconsin elderly couple dies in California wildfire

NOW: Wisconsin elderly couple dies in California wildfire

(CBS 58) -- Charles Rippey, 100, and his wife Sara, 98, died in the Napa Valley, California wildfire. They were from Hartford, Wisconsin and died after they couldn't escape their burning home. 

Their son, Mike, said his father died trying to get to his mother's room. They had just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. 

"Those of us in the family always wondered what would happen if one of them died and the other one was still left because we knew that there was no way that they would be happy, whoever was the last one," Mike said. "So, they went together."

The couple met in grade school and had attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They started a family after Charles had returned from fighting in World War II. 

Their home was the first one to catch fire in their subdivision.

"The winds were 30-40-50 miles an hour. It was like a firestorm," Mike said. "It hit so fast and they didn't have a chance."

"My mother had a stroke and she couldn't move very well at all so I don't think she would have been able to get out," he said. "My father certainly never would have left her."

The couple raised five children together. 

Share this article: