'We left everything': Shelter at Sonoma Marin Fairground reaches full capacity after more than 68,000 forced to evacuate

Stephanie Sierra Image
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Sonoma Marin Fairground evacuee shelter at full capacity
The Sonoma Marin Fairground is one of three shelters taking in evacuees from the Glass Fire burning in the North Bay. By Monday the center reached full capacity after more than 68,000 were forced to flee their homes.

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- The Sonoma Marin Fairground, one of three shelters taking in evacuees from the Glass Fire, reached capacity early Monday morning.

"We just heard more and more sirens," said evacuees Vallie and Tony describing their last moments in their Santa Rosa home.

LIVE: Latest updates on the Glass Fires burning in Napa, Sonoma counties

"Do you know the status of your home?" ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"Don't know... all we know is it jumped over Highway 12 over into Oakmont," they said.

The two are just a fraction of the more than 68,000 residents forced from their homes in the North Bay.

LIST: North Bay wildfires prompt evacuation orders & warnings in Napa, Sonoma counties

Dr. Allison Keanu is the CEO of the Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds. She says the fairground was transformed from a COVID-19 testing site to a shelter overnight.

"People have different needs," she said. "We have automobiles, a car camping area, RV's another place -- we're just trying to make it accessible for everyone once they arrive here."

Approximately 160 evacuees from a senior living facility in Santa Rosa are temporarily staying inside several buildings spaced 8 feet apart.

Ed Wayne thought his friend was one of them.

"I tried calling him and he wasn't there," said Wayne. "It's scary."

WATCH: Map shows Glass Fire burning in North Bay area untouched by previous wildfires

Map shows the Glass Fire burning near the Atlas, Nuns, Tubbs fires burn scar and the LNU Complex Fire in Napa, Sonoma counties.

Wayne said he showed up to the evacuation shelter to help in any way that he could.

"People need help right now," he said in tears. "Our community needs us."

That's what Kathy Guthormsen set out to do after hearing her friends evacuated from the Santa Rosa Bird Rescue Center.

"Several of them had to leave their homes in the middle of the night," she said.

It's living with that pain of simply not knowing.

RELATED: Parts of famed Castello di Amorosa Winery destroyed in Glass Fire

"Are you scared" Sierra asked.

"Yes... as they say you hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

More information on evacuation orders, warnings and centers can be found here.

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