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Cop helping evacuees loses home as thousands flee massive California wildfire

Wildfire rages in Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Northern California police officer who was helping residents flee the Pawnee wildfire had his home destroyed by the blaze. Red Bluff Police Lt. Matt Hansen said Monday that Corporal Ruben Murgia was helping residents evacuate when his pregnant wife and three young children were also ordered to leave their home.

Hansen said the family escaped safely and the 32-year-old Murgia completed his 12-hour shift Saturday, but has been given time off now to help his family recover.

Hansen said a local fundraising effort for Murgia has generated about $10,000 in cash, furniture and clothing.

Hansen said replacing Murgia's lost clothing is complicated by the fact the 6-year department veteran is 6-foot, 8-inches tall and weighs 300 pounds.

Hansen said Murgia orders most of his clothing online because stores rarely carry clothes that fit him.

Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Corey Pavlich said the neighborhood is still too dangerous to inspect, so officials do not have an accurate estimate of home destroyed or damaged. Officials say 600 buildings are threatened.

Fire officials say 10 more buildings have burned and that the largest wildfire in Northern California is still growing.

California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Monday that the fire in Lake County north of San Francisco is now nearly 13 square miles.

Some 3,000 people have been ordered evacuated from the most threatened neighborhood.

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