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Butte Fire Evacuees Choose Red Cross Shelter Over Hotel

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“The Red Cross people are so nice! I have my own bed, food, medical care and even a church"

Author: Monique Knight, Red Cross Volunteer

Sangchan Sprayberry, 62, moved to Mountain Ranch less than three months ago and was preparing for retirement. Little did she know that, on Sept. 13, she would receive the wake-up call of her life.

”It was about 4am and I felt like God woke me from a sound sleep,” Sprayberry said. “I looked outside and saw fire lighting up the sky.”

The clock was ticking with only a few minutes to get out of the house safely. She was most concerned about quickly moving her 85-year-old mother, Noothin Bunraksa, who sleeps in the next room. “We left wearing pajamas and no shoes,” she said.

Once evacuated, the mother and daughter were welcomed into a Red Cross shelter in Valley Springs. Although the pair had the option of staying in a hotel, Bunraksa declined.

“I love it here,” the older woman said. “The Red Cross people are so nice! I have my own bed, food, medical care and even a church (the shelter happens to be at Good Samaritan Church). We have everything we need here.”

Sprayberry said while the fire has completely disrupted her life including her planned retirement, she feels fortunate. “I lost everything…my home, my car, my clothes and my possessions. But I am truly blessed,” she said. “We are lucky be alive and getting support from the Red Cross.”