Monday, October 22, 2007

South County evacuations

Posted @ 10:32 PM

By 8 p.m. thick, ashy smoke drove residents out of eastern Chula Vista to an evacuation center at the community youth center near Chula Vista High School.

Most of east Chula Vista was on a voluntary evacuation notice throughout the day, but as some of the neighborhoods became mandatory evacuation areas, a steady stream of families began filling the community center.

Cots and plastic lawn chairs lined the floor of the the center's gymnasium for families to sleep on.

At one table, retirees Olamay and Ira Toliver, who couldn't tolerate the poor air conditions in their Eastlake apartment, ate food provided by the shelter.

The elderly couple had dust masks hanging from their necks, which they say were passed out at their retirement community. As Ira Toliver struggled to eat noodle soup with a spoon, his wife pointed out the couple remembered to bring his blood pressure machine and bag of medication.

"The air is getting terribly bad," Olamay Toliver said.

-- Tanya Sierra

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