Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No waiting

Posted @ 3:50 PM

Border Patrol officials said the wait to cross at both the San Ysidro and Otay
Mesa ports of entry was five minutes on Tuesday afternoon. Joe Perez, the
agent in charge at the Chula Vista station, said the short wait is
unprecedented.

San Diego Police Department and Border Patrol officials used a section of the
Home Town Buffet restaurant near Palm Avenue and I-805 as a staging site to
monitor the fire and potential evacuations.

The restaurant had originally been closed because of the fires, but San Diego
Police Lt. Deborah Farrar called the manager and asked if they could use the
restaurant. Employees arrived and soon the restaurant was full of both law
enforcement officials and local residents. It is one of the few restaurants
open in the area.

Two Hometown Buffet employees who live in Mexico anticipated a long border
wait but arrived two hours early.

At the San Ysidro port of entry, the streets were nearly vacant. Cars were
passing through the border without much trouble, and very few people were
crossing.

Farrar said at mid-afternoon, a voluntary evacuation was still in effect east
of I-805 and south of Main Street to the border.

"We're still suggesting to people that they stay away from their homes. They
don't have to leave, but we haven't told them it was OK to return," she said.

- Janine Zuniga

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