Monday, October 22, 2007

Qualcomm Stadium becomes a makeshift family room

Posted @ 2:15 PM

Qualcomm Stadium turned into a makeshift family room this afternoon, as thousand of evacuees filled the parking lot.

Many people said they planned to wait it out at the stadium, sleeping in their cars; for others the city was scrambling to find cots, blankets and tents.

Some evacuees made arrangements to stay with friends and others looks for hotel rooms, but those were filling up fast.

The Weber family, from Ramona, found a spot at the Holiday Inn near SeaWorld, but then they're veterans of this fire business. Their home on Gem Lane, near San Diego Country Estates, almost burned in the Cedar Fire, forcing them to evacuate. They packed up Sunday at about 5 p.m. convoying in three cars and went where they thought it would be safe -- at a Holiday Inn at Rancho Bernardo.

That respite lasted less than 12 hours, as the flames again sent them running, this time to Qualcomm.

The family -- parents Jeff and Elizabeth and kids Nick, 16, Jacob, 11, Timmy, 10, and Mikaela, 8 -- sprawled out in the parking lot in section P1. The kids played with video games, iPods and stuffed animals, while their two dogs rested in the shade and drank water.

"They each got to pick something special to them," said Elizabeth. Mikaela's was a stuffed brown dog as big as she is.

After a few hours in the sun on the pavement, they were looking forward to the hotel near SeaWorld.

"Lots of water," Timmy explained.

– John Wilkens

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