Some residents didn't hear shelter warning

June 4, 2008 11:43:10 PM PDT
Not everyone who could see the smoke received a shelter-in-place warning Wednesday night.

In a neighborhood called Gold Ridge residents got an automated phone call soon after the fire broke out. The automated message simply alerted residents to "please stay inside."

Lots of people stayed indoors and closed their windows. Residents of about 2,500 homes reportedly got the call, all within a one-mile radius of the fire.

ABC7's Lilian Kim talked to other people within that one-mile radius and they did not receive a phone call. They only learned about the shelter-in-place order on television, or through friends who happened to know what was going on. Others found out about it after the fact.

"I've got pets as well and we wouldn't all be out here if we had heard that. We had our windows open and everything," said Rekha Patel, a Fairfield resident.

"My husband came out and our neighbors, we have some elderly neighbors, and they were out watering and he told them to get in the house and shut their doors and shut their windows, so that's what we did," said Teresa Cushman.

The Sheriff's Department acknowledges the system is not perfect; they say there are many numbers that are not listed. However, they say if the situation had been more serious, they would have had officers patrol the neighborhoods and announce the shelter in place order through a loudspeaker. The Sheriff's Department also said fortunately, the weather conditions allowed the smoke to dissipate quickly enough where they didn't have to do that.


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