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Couple, married 75 years, couldn't escape wildfire

11 October 2017

The couple's caregiver tried to rescue them as the fire reached their home but could not get them out in time, another son said. Her grandparents, she said, "are immensely loved and missed".

Mike Rippey sifted through the rubble of what's left of his parents' home yesterday, looking for something of value.

The couple had met in grade school in Wisconsin and been together ever since, celebrating their 75th anniversary a year ago.

"The only thing worse would have been if one survived without the other", Gibney told KTVU2.

"So neither one of them was getting out". "The fact that they went together is probably what they would have wanted".

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Charles Rippey - nicknamed "Peach" as a toddler for his chubby cheeks - and his wife were among at least 21 victims who have died in the fierce, fast-moving fires that started Sunday and raged through neighborhoods. Longing to be close to them, the Rippeys followed, moving to Napa.

Mike, the oldest of five siblings, explained his father had been caring for his mother who was paralysed after a stroke five years ago, saying there was no way his mother was going to escape the fire in her condition.

"We kids would always talk about what it would be like if one of them died and the other was still alive", Mike Rippey, 71, told the New York Times.

Napa County Sheriff John Robertson confirmed the couple's death on Tuesday.

The couple attended the University of Wisconsin and married in 1942 before Charles Rippey served as a U.S. Army engineer in World War II.

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After the war, he worked at a tire and rubber company, and a manufacturing company.

Rippey said he had no plans to rebuild the home.

Mike's brother Chuck said even if they could get out they would "have gotten grilled" outside in the inferno. She managed to get Sara Rippey into a wheelchair and was trying to get to Charles Rippey's room. "It's gone. They're gone". Their bodies were found Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

Charles was nearly able to make it to his wife's side before they died, but Mike told ABC News that he died in the hallway.

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Couple, married 75 years, couldn't escape wildfire