By Naomi Nolte-Carroll, American Red Cross volunteer
Barbara Delano and her husband Lyle had to evacuate their home due to the Fairview Fire. It’s been 25 years since they moved to Hemet, but they had never experienced anything like this. They spent their time away from home at a Red Cross Shelter at Tahquitz High School in Hemet.
“You always hear about these kinds of things or see it on TV. But this was our first time experiencing the fear. We could see columns of smoke and actual fire from our house,” said Barbara.
The couple first heard about the threat of fire from their daughter, who lives in San Diego. Since both Barbara and Lyle need extra care, their daughter drove up as soon as she heard about the potential danger to stay with them and help them evacuate if needed.
On Friday afternoon they heard the warning on the radio – they were being told to evacuate. They had been advised to call 911 immediately if they had to leave their home. Barbara is bedridden and would need help from emergency services to get out of her home. The fire department came right away and helped Barbara get from her bed at home to the car.
Barbara and Lyle did not know where they would go at first, but then they heard about the Red Cross shelter. “Yes, it was scary. But as soon as I came into the shelter, I knew I was safe. It was like a whole new world,” said Barbara.
Barbara was highly impressed with the level of care the Red Cross and its partners were able to provide for her and her husband. “The care has been phenomenal. On a scale of 1 to 10? You can’t put a number on it. High above the scale,” Barbara said. “The Red Cross has been something else. They really stepped up.”
Thankfully, the evacuation order for Barbara and Lyle’s home was lifted. Although she was happy to go home, she would not have minded if she had had to stay at the Red Cross shelter. "We’re going home today. I’m happy, of course, but if I had to stay, I’d be okay with that," said Barbara. "It makes you feel good knowing the Red Cross is around."