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Rant #353
(published October 25, 2007)
News from the Center of the Ring of Fire
by Heather Siegel
Populated areas. That is the word I keep hearing. Flames and stories of evacutees. But the national news has not covered how the fires have ripped apart the basic seams of life.

Monday morning at 10 am, 911 called me if I could take my mother, RuthG, into my home and then called back. The fire separated me from Rancho Bernardo at Lake Hodges. Mom was being ripped out of her home, at 91, and being transported to a football stadium. If she had stayed there, she would be dead today, no question about it. Five people died from the stress of evacuation.


County officials released the names of five San Diego County residents who have died this week during the wildfires.

The list includes one death directly related to the fires, two that occurred during evacuation activities and two that happened after the people were evacuated.

Thomas James Varshock, 52, of Tecate, died on his property during the Harris Fire on Sunday.

Alla M. Robinson, 91, was an in-patient at Fallbrook Hospital who died of natural causes while in the process of being evacuated to Tri-City Medical Center on Monday.

Suzanne Elizabeth Casey, 62, died from a fall at a restaurant on Monday after being evacuated from her Rancho Bernardo home.

Donald Swarting, 92, died of natural causes at the Mount Miguel Covenant Village Nursing Home in Spring Valley on Tuesday after becoming unresponsive during the evacuation process.

June E. Brewer, 95, died of natural causes in her room at an Old Town hotel on Tuesday after being evacuated from her Rancho Bernardo home.

Posted @ 5:12 PM by Jen Steele

My brother, Yehuda, rescued her from Qualcomm Stadium and took her into his house with his wife, while Rancho Bernardo burned.

I remained trapped in my second floor apartment with both elevators broken. All highways were closed off, all recreational outlets such as schools and libraries were closed. I had doctor appointments and interviews and meetings, all cancelled. I had gone grocery shopping on Friday and I and the cats are living off the staples. The elevators worked today, I took out the garbage and moved my car.

There is a packed suitcase on the couch and I am living off of it while burning my cell phone minutes. People from Dallas and Chicago call with concerns. Other people call like there is no emergency and business as usual. And the TV talks about peppy people in shelters.

We are miserable, afraid, anxious, frightened, upset, confused, apprehensive, poor, dirty, tired, bored, scared, itching, and alone. I have relied on phone contact with Arkansas Glenn and limited email contact with others. I have been running my own dispatch center and am glued to the TV. Our choices are which stations to watch.

Please let me know that you are thinking of me and all of us. Mom thinks she will get back in her home, if it's standing, tomorrow. She wants her own bed, worries about looters, and wants to get her medicines. We all want our lives back.

No mail, no school, no libraries, horses and animals out of sync, we are a mess. Please pray for us.

Heather Siegel

PS. The cats made it clear that they would not leave but evacutees have no choice. I put them into their respective cages and then let them out in the apartment unit. We are 3 lucky campers, Thank G-d.

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