Valley Fire victims receive assistance at Napa County Fairgrounds

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Valley Fire evacuees at Napa County Fairgrounds optimistic
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Over 1,000 evacuees staying at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga are getting help from volunteers and people from different parts of the Bay Area after they lost their homes in the Valley Fire. Most of them are optimistic because of the rain that's expected on Wednesday.

CALISTOGA, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of Valley Fire evacuees are staying at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. A lot of clothes and other necessities items have been donated to the fire victims.

RESOURCES: Valley Fire evacuation centers, school closure information

Several pets are also at the fairgrounds being taken care of by their owners. Animal Services has been on scene helping out by providing food, medicine and even toys for the pets.

It's certainly not all the comforts of home, but the volunteers are trying to make it that way and the fire victims are making the best of their situation.

Is it possible that a tragedy hundreds of people might describe as rock bottom could also feel so warm and hopeful? "I think this is humanity at its finest," one woman said.

Many evacuees are staying in tents, on cots and fighting off confusion with the only possessions they could carry, wear or cram into a car after the raging fire broke out.

PHOTOS: Fire crews battle massive Valley Fire

One woman said she only had 10 minutes to escape the fire.

Christine McCabe, her young son Cavin and her father Bill Djernes are victims of a fire so devastating that it burned down their house, but they're feeling fortunate that they have an RV left to call home. "So many people didn't expect this to happen and even then once it started you thought, 'oh no, no, no this isn't real.' And I mean you know you either had to run or die, so we ran," Djernes said.

So now this is life for an estimated 1,200 people with thousands of problems ranging from needing clothes, prescription drugs or formula for their babies.

Amazingly, the Red Cross and so many people from nearby communities like Napa have met most of their needs. "People didn't turn their backs on me. I won't turn my back on them," Napa Earthquake victim Patricia Trimble said.

That's what seems to describe the Calistoga Fairgrounds: Part heartbreak, but mostly inspiration and optimism as rain is expected in the area on Wednesday.

Residents say if that rain comes it will put out the fire and they can get back into their homes or at least get back to rebuilding their lives.

Insurance companies are also set up to help people who are affected by this fire.

Click here for full coverage on the Valley Fire.

PHOTOS: ABC7 News at the Valley Fire

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