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iStock/Thinkstock(KERN COUNTY, Calif.) — Many residents in Kern County, California, have lost their homes in a deadly fire still burning through the area, while others have been denied access to their houses amid the catastrophic destruction left behind.

Two people have died and at least 150 homes have been destroyed in the Erskine fire, which has reportedly spread over 45,000 acres. Officials says the death toll could climb as they continue to search for victims amongst the charred buildings with a team of cadaver dogs.

One woman who lost her home told ABC News she feels "homeless and helpless."

Another evacuee said she learned from a neighbor that her home didn't make it. "Losing a house at age 29, it's hard," Brandi Pettit said through tears. "I don't wish this on [anybody]."

Chief Brian Marshall of the Kern County Fire Department described the blaze as mother nature and a spark colliding.

The fast-moving fire is 40 percent contained as of Monday morning, according to the spokesperson for Cal Fire, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Daniel Berlant. More than 2,000 people are helping to fight the blaze.
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conductorjason/Twitter(DALLAS) -- Passengers aboard a flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport were forced evacuate their plane after a smoky landing Monday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Everything aboard American Eagle Flight 3492 from Mobile, Alabama, operated by Envoy Air, was business as usual Monday morning until the plane was already on the ground, according to the airline. Upon landing, the aircraft's brakes became hot and began to produce smoke, according to American Airlines spokesperson Ross Feinstein.

The airport and American Airlines told ABC News the plane landed safely and no one suffered any serious injuries.

The pilots of the Embraer E145 reported some smoke in the cockpit after landing, FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford told ABC News, adding that a flame may have appeared out of a wheel well.

It's the crew's decision whether to have passengers evacuate rather than the routine exit at a gate.

The 40 passengers and three crew members on board the flight were helped down from the plane to the tarmac by those on the ground. The FAA does not allow slides on small planes like the Embraer E145 in this incident.

Photos on social media show the airport's emergency response vehicles coming to the aid of the aircraft while the passengers watched the scene unfold on the tarmac.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court Monday struck down a Texas law that imposed significant restrictions on abortion clinics — a major victory for abortion rights activists and a blow to the campaign to limit the procedures.

In a 5-to-3 decision, the justices struck down a law that set strict regulations governing how abortion clinics operate. The Texas law, enacted in 2013, mainly required clinics providing abortion services to beef up their facilities to match walk-in surgical centers and mandated physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Hundreds of activists on both sides of the debate gathered outside the Supreme Court in anticipation of the ruling. Monday is the last day that the court will issue decisions for this term, which began in October.

Texas has defended the restrictions, and the number of clinics providing abortion services in the state has dropped since the law was enacted. The Supreme Court said Texas put an undue burden on a woman's legal right to get an abortion.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, criticized the ruling.

"The decision erodes states' lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost," he said in a statement. "Texas' goal is to protect innocent life while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women."

The court is down one justice, from nine to eight, because of the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February. He routinely sided with anti-abortion advocates.

The court is now evenly divided, with four conservative justices and four liberals. The majority opinion for the court, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, held that the regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to an abortion.

"We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes," Breyer wrote of the “admitting-privileges requirement" and the “surgical center requirement. "Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution."

Breyer was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

In a concurring opinion, Ginsburg wrote, “Given those realities, it is beyond rational belief that [the Texas law] could genuinely protect the health of women and certain that the law "would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions."

In his dissent, Thomas argued that the court shouldn't have decided the case at all for technical and procedural reasons. But he also argues that the court's abortion jurisprudence is fundamentally misguided, and the court today "radically rewrites the undue burden test" by "requiring courts to consider the burdens a law imposes on abortion access together with the benefits those laws confer."

The last time the high court decided a major abortion case was nine years ago when they ruled to uphold a law banning late-term abortion procedures.

"Today women lost," Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, said outside the court after the ruling. "Today the Supreme Court put politics over the health and safety of women in our country."
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iStock/Thinkstock(BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.) — Two brothers who escaped from a South Carolina jail were captured Sunday night while a third inmate remains on the loose, Berkeley County Sheriff's deputies said.

Berkeley County Chief Deputy Mike Cochran said Michael Bryan Chaplin and Matthew Daniel Chaplin surrendered about 9:15 p.m. after SWAT team members surrounded them in a home in Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Deputies are still searching for 34-year-old Donald Ray Little. According to police, Little is about 6 feet tall and 165 pounds.

The escape happened early Friday inside the Dorchester County jail, roughly 50 northwest of Charleston, when the three inmates broke out of a window, using bed sheets to escape the facility.

Police said they stole a truck from a nearby home that was later recovered in Berkeley County Friday.

Officials say the suspects stole another vehicle Friday from Charleston County. A deputy spotted the suspects in the vehicle Saturday and attempted to pull them over, ABC Charleston affiliate WCIV-TV reported.

Instead, the truck drove away, setting off an eight-hour manhunt that was called off that evening.

Cochran said deputies learned the Chaplin brothers were at the house in Goose Creek about 1 p.m. Sunday. He said SWAT surrounded the house while deputies went to get a search warrant. Once they had it in hand, negotiators contacted the men and they surrendered.

The suspects were returned to the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office. A bond hearing has not been set.

Little, 34, was in jail for a probation violation. He was convicted in 2014 of making meth and sentenced to prison and probation, according to court records.

Michael Bryan Chaplin, 31, was in jail on two counts of grand larceny and four counts of burglary.

Matthew Daniel Chaplin, 28, was jailed on three counts of larceny, possession of meth, card theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Officials said at least 10 people were injured after an alleged Nazi protest in Sacramento, California, turned violent on Sunday.

The rally was planned by the "Traditionalist Workers Party," according to Sacramento Police, at the state capitol where counter protesters showed up in advance.

Counter protesters called the Traditionalist Worker Party "Nazis," according to ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento.

Police were not immediately sure what triggered the violence, but said they were first notified of a stabbing around 11:45 a.m. Sunday.

Nine victims were transported to local hospitals, and officials said two people had critical trauma stab wounds.

The Traditionalist Worker Party says on its website that it "stands for Faith, Family, and Folk. Our party members share a common struggle to transfer power and resources from the corrupt and unaccountable federal government to community and regional leaders who stand for traditional values, strong families, and revived cultures.

"Localism and secessionism are central to our mission," it says.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the TWP was formed in January 2015 as the political wing of the Traditionalist Youth Network, a group that tries to draw high school and college students into white nationalism.

This is a developing story. Check back for additional updates.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LAKE ISABELLA, Calif.) -- Hundreds of California firefighters are still struggling to contain a deadly fire that has destroyed entire neighborhoods.

Kern County officials said Sunday that the 58 square mile-wide Erskine Fire blazed through at least 200 homes and other structures.

As of late Sunday night, the fast-moving fire was 40 percent contained and at least two people were killed, according to officials. Kern County officials were also trying to confirm if more were dead as they continued to battle the blaze.

"We weren't that lucky," said Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall. "Again, mother nature and a spark collided and this fire moved extremely fast."

Nearly two million acres have burned in California this year, ahead of last year's record-setting burnage pace, and fire season has barely started.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gay Pride marches took place across the country Sunday, but the celebratory tone of the events was inter-spliced with poignant moments of mourning over the 49 men and women who died during the shooting massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month.

New York, San Francisco and Chicago were among the cities holding marches, where loud music, dancing, and rainbow-colored imagery mixed with more subdued tributes to the victims of the attack at Pulse.

In the New York event, 49 men and women dressed in all white, marched with signs around their necks bearing the names and faces of the victims of the attack, asking for silence. A bystander at the event told ABC News that "you could hear a pin drop" as the group marched.

In Chicago, a group marched with an arrangement of rainbow colored balloons shaped into the phrase "1 Pulse", according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

At San Francisco's parade, a "We're Orlando" group of about 300 people participated in the parade, honoring with a moment of silence when the march reached the grandstand.

"Our hearts are with Orlando. We think of them every day," San Francisco resident Cory Vaughn told ABC station KGO-TV, regarding Sunday's march in his home city.

Throughout the country, security was increased in the wake of the shooting.

Sunday's events also coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage, a date that was capitalized upon by advertisers, and celebrated on social media.

On Friday, President Obama designated a new national monument at the site of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, where gay men and women demonstrated against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969.

Local and national politicians took part in Pride events, including presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who marched with a security detail at the New York event, taking breaks to shake hands with onlookers.

Clinton also marched in the New York Pride Parade in 2000 and 2006. She has received criticism in the past for the timing of her support for gay marriage, which she announced in a video for Human Rights Campaign in March 2013, nearly a year after President Obama did in an interview with ABC News.

Sunday's Pride events were mostly peaceful, according to reports, and in New York, interactions between participants and the NYPD were described as "friendly" by observers.

In the Capitol Hill area of Seattle on Wednesday, Michael Volz, a local trans man, was attacked after leaving a fundraiser for the victims of the Pulse shooting, ABC affiliate KOMO-TV reported.

The attacker allegedly said "Happy Pride" before punching and choking Volz.

The FBI has joined in the investigation, which police are classifying as a hate crime, according to KOMO-TV.

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iStock/Thinkstock(HUNTINGTON, W.V.) -- West Virginia residents in need have received an outpouring of donations in the wake of a devastating flood that has left parts of the state stuck in "standing deep water" and at least 24 dead, according to a spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM).

WVDHSEM spokesman Timothy Rock told ABC News that while some of the flood waters that had shocked residents on Friday had receded, other areas remained in serious need of emergency assistance.

"Our primary focus is to make sure that everyone is accounted for," Rock said, regarding the ongoing rescue efforts.

According to WVDHSEM, 500 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed in Roane County, which is a 484-square-mile area with a little over 14,000 residents, according to census data.

"The people who have lost homes here have lost literally everything," Rock said.

The West Virginia National Guard has placed 300 troops on the ground to support the rescue effort, and the state's Health and Human Resources Division has received requests from several counties for tetanus vaccinations, which have been coordinated for delivery and distribution, WVDHSEM said in a statement.

Jerrad Riggs, general manager at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews in Huntington, West Virginia, has helped to oversee a donation drive at his restaurant, and told ABC News in a phone interview that the outpouring of generosity he has witnessed was "immediate." He described the mood in the state Sunday as "far from comfort but past panic."

"Some people came from as far as Dayton, Ohio," Riggs said of the donation efforts. "There was a pick-up truck filled with bottled water."

Despite the speed and size of the donation efforts, Riggs said West Virginia has a long way to go before the state could claim a recovery.

"I think that for the communities that are affected by this flood, there is no sense of relaxation," he said. "We have entire towns underwater."

He also described West Virginian residents as being quick to come together in times of crisis.

"I think that West Virginia is sometimes looked down upon [nationally]," he said. "But we are survivors with a survivors mentality and fighting to protect our land."

The devastation caused by the flood led the PGA to cancel a tour event, The Greenbrier Classic, which was scheduled to be played in the state July 7-10. The course was extensively damaged and could not be repaired in time, the PGA said.

"We are heartbroken by the devastation that the residents of West Virginia are experiencing at this time and the reports of lives lost due to the terrible flooding," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. "Canceling the Greenbrier Classic is certainly the most prudent course of action as our foremost concern is the well-being of those who are having to live through this tragic situation."

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He Shoots Lyfe Photography(CHICAGO) -- About 40 homeless students in Chicago got something Saturday many of them thought would never come -- a chance to attend prom.

Jalisa Thurston was one of those students.

"This prom is amazing because I didn't ever go to prom," she told ABC News.

Thurston, 23, who is set to return to school later this year, said she never attended her high school prom after being kicked out of school for "some bad choices" and a subsequent pregnancy.

On Saturday, she got a chance to wear a donated off-white two-piece evening gown thanks to a prom, held by two local non-profits Teen Living Programs Chicago, which serves homeless youth ages 14-24, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart, which centers on girls and teens around the world. It was the first time the prom was held for the organizations.

"I feel like I'm getting married," Thurston said. "I'm glad I met [TLP Chicago] because they’re wonderful."

The room where the prom was held on the lower level of Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago was decorated in navy blue and white. Along with a candy table, there was also a cake and cupcake stand. A prom queen and king were crowned -- after getting recommendations from the students' social workers -- and some students even performed.

Michael Brown was one of the evening's performers. He rapped and sang.

"The day is really nice! The energy is really nice in the room. The ambiance is beautiful," he told ABC News during the event. "It's a night to remember."

Several local and national organizations provided donations, allowing the men to be outfitted with tuxedos and the women received complimentary hair styling and make-up application.

"They all looked so nice," Kamelah Muhammad, one of the organizers who came up with the idea, told ABC News.

"I’m from Chicago so I just wanted to be able to help my hometown," she said. "The youth that are at TLP, they work, they’re in school, and they're doing a lot to try and make due with their situation."

"I thought it would be a great idea to have a prom because every high school student deserves a prom," Muhammad, 29, added. "For those who may not have had an opportunity -- like Jalisa -- or for those who needed to be recognized for their resilience. We wanted to create a day of celebration and a memorable evening for them."

And the non-profits work paid off. The students seemed to have a good time.

"It’s real pretty. It’s beautiful," Thurston said Saturday. "I'm just enjoying myself and this great experience and [I'm] just smiling and laughing and living."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  The Supreme Court only has one scheduled day left this term, and that means the justices are expected to hand down opinions in the remaining cases on Monday.

Those include cases on abortion, government corruption and a ban on gun ownership by individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses.

Last week the Court gave a big win to supporters of affirmative action, allowing race to be used as a factor when accepting applicants to universities. An even divide between the justices also effectively knocked down the President Obama’s immigration program.

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has left an eight-member court with the possibility of additional split decisions.


In what could be the most important abortion case in 25 years, clinics and doctors have challenged a Texas law in an attempt to reverse course on new regulations.

In 2013, Texas passed HB2, which contains the two provisions at issue in this case: 1) a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital; and 2) a requirement that abortion facilities comply with the requirements for ambulatory surgical centers.

The plaintiffs in the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, argued that there’s no evidence that the law promotes women’s health, and that it is really about impeding women’s access to abortion. If the law goes fully into effect, the challengers contend, the number of clinics in Texas will drop to 10 or fewer.

Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, the agency that enforces the challenged law, says that Texas is trying to ensure patient safety and improve standards of care.

The challengers won in the trial court, but an appeals court reversed it. When the Supreme Court took the case, it reinstated the trial court order blocking the law from fully going into effect while it considered the case.

This was the first major case the court heard after the February 13th death of Justice Scalia, and his absence was palpable during oral arguments. The liberal justices, in particular the three women, went after the Texas attorney, leaving no doubt that they believe the law is not justified by medical necessity.

Kennedy, so often the swing justice, was difficult to read, but seemed at least somewhat troubled by some aspects of the Texas law.

If Justice Kennedy thinks the regulations have gone too far, he will likely join the liberal justices in striking them down 5-3; if not, the court will likely divide 4-4, affirming the lower court opinion and leaving the regulations in effect, but making no law for the rest of the country.

However, a 4-4 split would apply to all three states in the Fifth Circuit –- Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

There is also a slight possibility that the Supreme Court could send the case back to the trial court for the introduction of more evidence.


Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted in 2014 by a Virginia jury of official corruption, for conduct related to his relationship with businessman Jonnie Williams.

Williams gave gifts and cash loans to McDonnell and his wife, who were in dire financial straits, and McDonnell arranged meetings and took other action to facilitate Williams' attempt to secure approval for a tobacco-based supplement called Anatabloc.

The jury convicted McDonnell of several official corruption charges, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction and rejected McDonnell’s request to stay out of prison while he asked the Supreme Court to consider his case.

However, the Supreme Court surprised many people when it granted McDonnell’s request to stay out of prison and then in January agreed to hear the case.

This is McDonnell's last hope to have his conviction overturned and stay out of prison.

The narrow legal issue here is whether the meetings that the former governor arranged and other actions he took constituted "official acts" for purposes of federal law.

McDonnell's request seems likely to attract the support of a majority of the justices, given the reaction of the justices during oral arguments. However, a 4-4 tie would affirm the Fourth Circuit opinion and his conviction.

Gun ownership

This case, Voisine v. United States, is noteworthy because Justice Clarence Thomas in March used it to ask his first questions during oral arguments in a decade.

One of the petitioners in the case, Stephen Voisine, claimed that his state domestic violence conviction shouldn’t have prevented him from owning a gun under federal law. Voisine’s case was consolidated with another similar case, brought by William Armstrong, both from Maine.

Although they are very likely to lose, Thomas used the oral argument as an opportunity to ask a total of 11 questions, all suggesting that the statute that barred the petitioners from gun ownership raised serious Second Amendment concerns.

“This is a misdemeanor violation. It suspends a constitutional right. Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” said Thomas during arguments.

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ABC News(ORLANDO, Fla.) --  The number of remaining hospitalized victims from the June 12 Pulse Nightclub massacre continues to gradually decline -- although 3 remain in critical condition -- according to newly-released figures from Orlando Health, the umbrella organization encompassing several local hospitals.

Orlando Regional Medical Center, located less than a mile from Pulse Nightclub, is part of Orlando Health and received most of the victims. Forty-nine clubgoers died, and 53 were injured. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed by police.

On Saturday evening, Orlando Health said 8 victims remained in the hospital -- 3 in critical condition and 5 in stable condition. The previous Saturday, 19 had remained hospitalized.

Orlando Health also announced that so far, its facilities had performed 61 operations on victims -- 7 of those operations were in the past week.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">44 victims treated, 9 died, 27 discharged, 8 remain in hospital.<br>Since the incident, surgeons have performed 61 operations on victims. (2/3)</p>&mdash; Orlando Health (@orlandohealth) <a href="">June 26, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

 To give an idea of the gradual decline of hospitalized victims, here's the numbers from the past week:

-On Friday, 11 victims were still hospitalized
-On Thursday, 12 were still hospitalized
-On Wednesday, 15 remained hospitalized
-On Tuesday, 16 were still hospitalized
-On Monday and Sunday, 18 were still hospitalized
-On Saturday June 18, 19 remained hospitalized

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  A former Indiana University student who was charged in connection with two rape cases in September 2015 has accepted a plea deal and will only serve probation.

John Enochs pled guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury and will serve one year of probation, with the rape charges against him dropped as part of the agreement, according to ABC Indianapolis affiliate WRTV.

A statement obtained by ABC News, written on behalf of Enochs, read, "John Enochs did admit to conduct in one instance that the Court found to be a misdemeanor. He is profoundly sorry for his lack of judgment and has apologized for his conduct."

Prosecutors have yet to explain why a plea deal was accepted, according to WRTV.

Enochs was a member of the Delta Tau Theta fraternity when the first rape was reported in April 2015. A woman who said she had been drinking accused Enochs of attempting to have sex with her. Campus police said security video appeared to implicate Enochs.

While police were investigating that case, another woman accused him of a rape at the Delta Zeta sorority house on the Bloomington, Indiana, campus in October 2013. Enochs was charged after a DNA test.

Enochs' statement did address alcohol's involvement in the first case: "Issues of alcohol and sexual misconduct are serious issues on college campuses across the country, but such issues are trivialized when law enforcement misrepresents the true facts and fails to investigate the allegations fully and fairly."

The statement also reads, "As the Monroe County prosecutors' office has acknowledged through their voluntary dismissal of the rape charges, John Enochs did not rape anyone and he should never have been charged with these offenses. Rather, due to the misconduct of the lead investigator who presented false and misleading evidence in her public probable cause affidavit---and failed to provide the Court with exculpatory evidence---John Enochs was charged with crimes he did not commit. After John Enochs presented evidence to demonstrate his innocence of the sensationalized and false charges, the prosecutor's office, on their own motion, dismissed both rape charges."

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — Three West Virginia counties devastated by flooding will receive federal disaster assistance, the state's governor announced Saturday as the death toll rose again.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide individual assistance, which includes emergency medical support, housing and addresses a number of immediate needs, to residents in Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties, West Virginia officials said Saturday.

Authorities said this afternoon that the death toll from the flooding had risen to 24, after another body was recovered in Greenbrier County.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has called the flooding "among the worst in a century" for some parts of the state.


A view of a home in Clendenin from I-79

— Spencer Daily (@Spencer_Daily) June 24, 2016


The body of a child who was swept away in fast-moving floodwaters was found Friday morning, about a mile from where he was last seen in Jackson County Thursday, the Ravenswood Fire Department said. Also among the dead are a man whose body was found in a home in the Clendenin area, and two females whose bodies were found in a home near Little Sandy Creek, with all three presumed to have drowned, according to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.

Initial reports showed 100 homes were seriously damaged or destroyed, the governor said.

But amid the tragedies were stories of heroic actions, Tomblin said: police rescued a woman trapped in her car with water rising to her neck, and some people risked their lives to rescue others who were stranded on rooftops and in rivers.

A state of emergency was declared in 44 of the state's 55 counties.

Some 200 National Guard members were helping Friday in eight counties, Tomblin said.

Rescue efforts were also underway Friday to save hundreds of people who became stranded inside a West Virginia mall overnight after a bridge connecting the shopping center to a main road collapsed and washed away, officials told ABC News.

About 500 people, including employees and customers, became got stuck inside the Crossings Mall in Elkview, about 12 miles from Charleston, around 4 p.m. Thursday, said Rick McElhaney, assistant deputy director with Metro 911 in Kanawha County.

First responders Saturday walked some people from the mall around to a back road to board public transportation, an official with the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center told ABC News Friday morning.

"I have a farm, I have got to get home," one woman said while walking down a steep hill behind the mall.

Crews were also working Friday to build a gravel road to get people out. But some people stayed at the mall because their homes were flooded.

The flooding attracted the attention of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is in Scotland. He tweeted, "Thoughts and prayers are with everyone in West Virginia- dealing with the devastating floods. #ImWithYou."


Thoughts and prayers are with everyone in West Virginia- dealing with the devastating floods. #ImWithYou

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2016


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iStock/Thinkstock(LAKE ISABELLA, Calif.) -- Firefighters in central California are struggling to contain a devastating fire of "epic proportions" that's killed two people, according to Kern County Fire.

The Erskine fire, which began Thursday afternoon, continued to spread Saturday across the Lake Isabella area of Kern County. It's affected more than 19,000 acres.

California Gov. Edmund Grown declared a state of emergency for Kern County.

“Anne and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to everyone impacted by this destructive blaze,” said Brown said in a statement. “We join all Californians in expressing our gratitude to the courageous firefighters, emergency personnel and volunteers working tirelessly throughout Kern County to help residents and extinguish this fire.”

As of Saturday morning, about 100 structures were lost and 1,500 more were threatened.

The cause of the fire is not known, Tyler Townsend of Erskine Creek Fire said this morning.

There are 600 firefighters battling the blaze with several hundred more expected to arrive on scene.

Officials have called it a "firefight of epic proportions."

With wind gusts over 20 miles per hour, the fire covered 11 miles in 13 hours.

"I've been a firefighter for nine years," Townsend said during a Facebook Live broadcast Thursday. "This is definitely the most destructive fire I've ever been to."

"This fire's driven by winds, steep terrain," he continued. "We have firefighters in here trying to protect as many homes as they can."

Evacuations are in place for some neighborhoods and the Kern Valley hospital has also been evacuated. There was a great sense of urgency as many homes in the area have propane tanks and some could be seen exploding in Townsend's video.

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Paul Tateosian(BRADENTON, Fla.) -- When Paul Tateosian and Jason Burnside showed up to an empty house in Bradenton, Florida, for a home inspection, the last thing they expected to find was somebody still living there. But that’s exactly what happened when Tateosian, a real estate agent assistant, stumbled upon a little orange furball with a particularly grumpy face.

“I was walking around the around looking at the roof and when I got around to the back and this little guy was just sitting there,” Tateosian told ABC News of the extremely thin, matted Persian kitten he immediately nicknamed Garfield. “His face, he just looked so upset, like he was so bent out of shape. I just went up to him and I bent down and even though he looked really upset, he was really happy to see us.”

“He looked pretty hungry so I cut him a mango from a mango tree next door. But he hated it,” he said.

Burnside, a home inspector, had been inside examining the house with the future buyers as Tateosian and Garfield were outside making fast friends. Once he walked back out though, he, too, was immediately drawn to the affectionate kitten and knew he needed to help.

Burnside believes the cat was left behind by the previous renters, but hasn’t yet taken it to the vet to check for a chip.

Although extremely grumpy-looking, the kitten couldn’t have been friendlier with the two men.

“I set the backseat down in the truck and set a towel down and she just went to sleep,” Burnside explained. “I got her home and my girlfriend and her friend, who works at a vet's office in town, helped clean her up because her tail was all matted. Her tail was so mangled she couldn’t even pick it up. We got her in the house and wrapped her in a towel and shaved her tail and cut all the nastiness away from her, and she was just happy as can be. It took her about a day to start eating again.”

Burnside’s mother just recently lost her pet cat, so she is now thrilled to be adopting Garfield, who is now named Girdy because they’ve discovered she’s actually a female.

“She has an appointment at the vet’s office the beginning of next week to get all checked out to make sure she’s good to go,” said Burnside. “We got her all cleaned up and taken care of. She’s in good hands now.”

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