October 22, 2007

October Fires

Four years ago I was a Sophomore at San Diego State when fires struck San Diego County. The sky became dark with ashes and thousands were forced to evacuate. As I caught up on World News yesterday at abcnews.com, I couldn't help but be reminded of the 2003 San Diego October Fires.

I remember waking up and looking out on our patio to a glowing sky. The sun was attempting to peak through thick gray smoke.. the result was a glowing orange sky. At the time I lived directly across the street from Qualcomm Stadium, so that first night my roommate Carly and I went to offer a hand to all the evacuees that filled the Qualcomm Stadium parking lots. What we found was pretty alarming. No one was in charge. Red Cross hadn't shown up yet and were instead focusing their efforts at a shelter in Balboa Park. Carly and I happened to be wearing matching t-shirts and a man put us behind a long table and said to do what we could to help. I remember that look of pure inadequacy that we exchanged. "Help people? How? We're supposed to organize this?"

Resources started to come together.. donated water from Costco, coffee from Starbucks, dog food from Petco, blankets from families and local businesses. Before too long, there was a system in place. I remember the hours passing quickly as cars continued to fill the parking lot. After about 5 hours a Red Cross representative came to take over and we were grateful.

Carly and I still shake our head when we talk about that night at Qualcomm. How did that happen? Were the matching t-shirts enough to give some sense of organization and order?

From what I've read, the fires in San Diego right now are much worse than 4 years ago. I called my friend Sean Lynch to get an update and he was.. of all places.. at Qualcomm Stadium offering a hand.

This morning in class we Lifted up the San Diego and Malibu area. We asked for safety for the residents and firemen. Email me if there's specific things we can Petition for. Please also Lift up my family in Malibu.. they're about 5 miles north on PCH.


M said...

I was just wondering what you were thinking about the fires. And then I checked your blog.

Carly said...

Ah, the memories at Qualcomm...matching shirts clearly mean we can organize a whole evacuation effort. We came up with answers and solutions somehow... :) I will never forget that memory with you.