By Cindy Huge, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer
Wednesday evening, the Red Cross team received a call that the French Fire was moving quickly and evacuations were starting. Volunteers jumped into action to set up a Temporary Evacuation Point at the Senior Center in Lake Isabella in Kern County for anyone that needed a safe place to stay. Volunteers were on site to help evacuees, like Joan Mason and Everett Arnold.
“We could see the fire and feel the wind starting to blow and thought, “Oh my we are in big trouble.”
Joan Mason and her brother-in-law Everett Arnold were watching the fire intently from their Wofford Heights home and quickly packed to-go bags in case of the need to evacuate. “When the ReadyKern cell phone alert came through, we knew it was time to leave,” said Mason. They both got into their cars and headed to the American Red Cross shelter that was set up in Lake Isabella.
The smoke from the fire made the drive difficult and Mason said she cried at the thought of possibly not being able to return to her home, especially as she passed fire engine after fire engine.
Mason and Arnold were relieved to be greeted by Red Cross Volunteers who reassured them the shelter would be a safe place to stay. They were able to finally relax. A warm evening meal was served to them and afterwards they we able to sleep comfortably knowing that volunteers were nearby to help them if needed.
“Our experience at the Red Cross shelter was amazing! The volunteers took care of our every need and we are so appreciative of everything they did,” said Mason