Fire Victims and Evacuees Who Died During SoCal Firestorms

County officials have recorded three fire deaths and seven fire-related deaths since the weekend, when wind-driven wildfires started burning throughout Southern California.

Two scorched bodies were discovered late Wednesday and early
Thursday in a gutted home near Poway, north of San Diego. Medical
examiners were trying to establish the identities of the two victims, who are believed to have been related.

- Thomas James Varshock, 52, of Tecate, died from burns on Sunday at his property. Authorities had told him to leave the border town southeast of San Diego but he remained.

- Robert M. Sibbison, 86, who had been under hospice care, died Wednesday morning after experiencing shortness of breath while being evacuated from his San Diego-area home by ambulance. He died at Grossmont Hospital.

- Priscilla Frias, 20, of San Diego, fled with her family to Tijuana when she had difficulty breathing. Her family brought her back to San Diego for medical care, where her breathing condition worsened. She was pronounced dead early Wednesday at Scripps Mercy Hospital-Chula Vista.

- James Sharp, 64, died late Tuesday at a San Diego hospital. Sharp had been living at an assisted care facility in Vista when he fell and fractured his spine on Oct. 12. He was recovering at a nursing home in Carlsbad on Monday when he was evacuated to Alvarado Hospital because of the fire. "His condition rapidly declined and he did not recover," and his death is believed related to his fall, said Rick Poggemeyer, operations administrator for the San Diego County medical examiner's office. "The transport probably was not a direct or major cause of his death," he said.

- June E. Brewer, 95, was found dead in her bed in a San Diego hotel shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. She had been evacuated from her Rancho Bernardino home on Monday. She died of end-stage chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, Poggemeyer said.

- Donald Swarting, 92, was pronounced dead, probably from a heart attack, shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday. He was being prepared for evacuation from a Spring Valley nursing home when he complained of shortness of breath and chest pain. He went to the bathroom where he became "unresponsive," Poggemeyer said.

- Alla M. Robinson, 91, was pronounced dead, probably from a heart attack, on Monday afternoon after she stopped breathing while being evacuated from Fallbrook Hospital, where she was a patient, to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside.
- Suzanne Elizabeth Casey, 62, died shortly before midnight Monday. She had left her home in Rancho Bernardo and was staying at
a hotel in Pacific Beach when she went to a restaurant next to the hotel.

"When exiting the restaurant she fell down the steps and hit her head and died as a result of that head trauma," Poggemeyer said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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