Death toll rises in California wildfires

An unidentified man who was helping to battle the blazes apparently lost control of a water truck he was driving, a California fire official confirmed to ABC News.
2:17 | 10/17/17

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Transcript for Death toll rises in California wildfires
We turn now to the wildfires in California. This morning people are returning to see the devastation firsthand as evacuation orders are lifted. The fires have destroyed more than 5700 buildings and homes. ABC's Clayton Sandell is in Santa Rosa with the latest. Good morning, Clayton. Reporter: And good morning, George. As you say the good news is many evacuations have been lifted but as you can see from this neighborhood so many people have nothing to come home to. This as the death toll here continues to rise. Signs of progress on California's wildfires this morning overshadowed by the first firefighting death. Traffic medical for a possible water tender rollover. Reporter: Fatigue may have played a role in the crash of a water tanker that killed the driver. Everyone is getting tired. There has been no break for these firefighters. Reporter: This is a typical scene here as thousands return home for the first time. The Gibson and develvella families have been neighbors and best friend force decades but facing different outcomes. The America news reports Gibson's house is still standing. Vella's completely destroyed. Crystal bell along with nine family members have been living in the rv and have nowhere to go. How are you holding up? It's getting rough. It's getting rough. It's starting to become real real. I just want to go home. You take home for granted. It's like starting over. Reporter: Still they are feeling grateful. Is it all stuff or you have your health? Everything, yeah. Well, I'm lucky to have my family here. We're all together. I'm blessed no less. I can't complaint. Reporter: Dmitri Menzel has been a firefighter for 25 years. I had a shed here and this is our walkway. Reporter: He is 1 of 40 first responders who lost their homes. I've been on the site helping people and trying to get them through bad times and, you know, to suddenly be in that position is odd. You know, I don't know how to react to it. Reporter: Officials say this morning about 40,000 people are still evacuated. They hope to lift those evacuations soon. Robin. We hope that for them. Clayton, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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