Minnesota Man Says Father is One of Many Missing in California Fire

November 12, 2018 10:40 PM

The father of a Minnesota man is one of more than 200 people who are unaccounted for in northern California as a fire moves through the area. 

Seventy-eight-year-old John Digby's last known location was at his home in the Pine Springs Mobile Home Park in the town of Paradise, California.  His son, Roman Digby, lives in Owatonna. Digby said Monday he's beyond worried because he hasn't been able to reach his dad since last Thursday, the same day the fire, known as the Camp Fire, destroyed the town.


 "I don't think he realized how much danger he was in," he said.

When mandatory evacuations were ordered for all 30,000 residents, a neighbor banged on John Digby's door and said they had to leave as fire came at the site from all sides.  The neighbor said he refused. 

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Roman Digby said his dad didn't seem like himself lately.  He had health challenges that would make a fast evacuation challenging.  

From his home in Owatonna, Digby called the Butte County Sheriff's Department and added his dad's name and photo to the missing persons list.  He also has checked with hospitals, shelters, evacuation centers and police. 

"Maybe he's in a hospital or somewhere unconscious and can't say his name or mine," he said. 

Digby is an only child and his dad is his only living parent.  Despite the distance, he is doing everything he can to track him down.

"It's been extremely difficult," he said "I guess I would rather know one way or another, even if it is bad news."

First responders have indicated it could take weeks to contain the fire before any sort of welfare checks can be done.  So the number of missing and lives lost won't be known immediately. 

In the meantime, Digby plans to stay close to his phone in Owatonna. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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