SoCal fires affect SF State students
October 23, 2007 5:58 PM
While uncontrolled fires tear through southern California, students 389 miles north at SF State University with family and friends in Southern California have been worried since Saturday, when the flames began.
“I was pretty freaked out,” liberal arts major Kayla Kassik, 19, said. “I have a lot of friends in San Diego and San Clemente and I didn’t know any of the details about the fire.”
With family and friends who had to evacuate their houses, Kassik was worried when she found out about the 17 wildfires that have recently scorched about 425 square miles of land from north of Los Angeles down to San Diego County.
Kassik’s roommate, Marisa Rubio, is from Los Angeles. With family in Southern California whose house is now nothing more then ashes, and a half brother who might be forced to evacuate his home, Rubio said she has constantly been talking on the phone.
“Me and my mom having been calling each other all day,” Rubio, 19, said. “This is like the tenth time I called her.”
It was unclear what started the fires, but officials said that downed power lines could be the cause of the fires in Malibu and Agua Dulce.
Unfortunately, because of the strong Santa Ana winds that continue to blow, it seems almost impossible that firefighters will be able to put the fires out anytime soon even with the help of 250 extra firefighters from the Bay Area and more then 100 from Nevada. About 200 officers have been pulled from border patrol to fight the fire as well.
“Cars are covered with ashes and the skies are grey,” said San Francisco native Sarah Hamilton, who now lives in Mira Mesa.
More then 500,000 people were evacuated from their houses and ordered to find shelter. And more then 1300 houses and businesses have burned down, 1000 in San Diego alone.
As of Tuesday, authorities confirmed that two people have died as a result of the blazes, including one man who didn’t leave his house over the weekend. It was also reported that throughout Southern California there have been 45 injuries, 16 of whom were firefighters.
Some of the places in San Diego County that have become emergency shelters for the families evacuating their houses is Qualcomm Stadium and Fiesta Island. The latter is also sheltering livestock.
As for Rubio, her brother might be staying in her old room because of the emergency evacuation.
“I was just like, of course I want (my brother) to be safe,” Rubio said.
Eerily, this week marks the anniversary of the fires that burned through San Diego in 2003.
“It’s kind of creepy,” Hamilton said. “Why is it the same week as the fire four years ago?”
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