A disabled woman, unable to escape the fires, dies. Residents flee Middletown, California as the countryside burns around them. .
A caretaker for late Barbara McWilliams who died in a fire, recalls Barbara as a woman full of life. Barbara was suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis and was former special educator. The 72-year-old was the first fatality of the fast Valley fire. She died in her home in Lake County on Cobb Mountain.
McWilliams had no car, and she could not have driven one, and this particular case rasies questions about evacuation efforts.
Jennifer Hittson worked for McWilliams for the last five months. She remembers the story about failed evacuation.
She became fond of the lady whose house she’s been cleaning, and according to her, Fire Protection could not assist in a timely manner. Her house was at a remote wooded area.
She said more should have been done. The woman was disabled and was in the house. Also, she didn’t have family or friends nearby. She says that if only they listened to her, the lady would still be alive.
McWilliams has spent years in India. She was a practicing Buddhist, insisted on an immaculate home free of any chemicals. She worked with children with dyslexia, and after her health started failing, she started to feed the birds near her house in the woods.
She enjoyed outdoor life and nature.