Thursday, October 25, 2007

From shelter back to stadium

Posted @ 10:53 PM

The impromptu party's over at Qualcomm Stadium.

"It's like a ghost town," said Charles Bradfield, a 48-year-old Ramona resident.

Bradfield sat alone tonight in Section 59, surrounded by a sea of empty seats. His wife, Kathering, and daughter, Jennifer, lay sleeping nearby.

Empty cots and piles of bedding were everywhere. Crews of workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency roamed together in small groups.

Some 12,000 people have sought shelter at the stadium since Monday, and tonight perhaps a couple hundred still remained. By noon Friday, they will all be gone, as the city of San Diego is relocates shelter services to the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

When the Bradfields arrived Wednesday, "It felt like a big block party," he said. There was food, donations, entertainment everywhere you turned, he said. Now, "it's a cold feeling," he said. "Like no one cares."

Empty cots and piles of bedding were everywhere. Crews of workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency roamed together in small groups. The loudest sound was the baseball game blaring from small televisions above the seats.

Evacuee Frederic Ponceau went home to Rancho Bernardo Thursday, but found he had no power. So the 43-year electrical engineer returned to the stadium to use his laptop computer.

He was surprised to see a fellow Rancho Bernardo resident had remained behind. "Your place is fine. You have power," Ponceau told the 83-year-old woman.

She had driven to the stadium on Monday, and was preparing to spend her fourth night there. She would decide Friday what to do. In the meantime, she had a question about her house.

"Is it still white?"

- Sandra Dibble, staff writer

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