Evacuees sleep in cars, make friends at shelters

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Although remaining concerned, evacuees seemed to be OK on Wednesday at the Lincoln Community Center, one of three evacuation shelters set up in Lincoln. Police evacuated 4,800 residences and businesses, starting Tuesday afternoon. The Lincoln Police Department, which received assitance from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, evacuated residents Tuesday afternoon and night because of a train tanker car that caught fire that afternoon, according to Lincoln Police Lt. David Ibarra. The Capitol Region Chapter of the American Red Cross opened the three shelters at the Lincoln Community Center, 2010 First St.; Kilaga Springs Lodge, 1176 Sun City Blvd.; and Club Lincoln at Lincoln Crossing, 830 Groveland Lane. Red Cross Public Affairs volunteer Heath Wakelee said residents were given food, water, blankets and cots during their overnight stay at each shelter. “The American Red Cross, in its continuing efforts to assist the residents displaced from the train car propane fire in Lincoln, will keep three shelters open to provide emergency shelter, food, water and health servcies,” American Red Cross spokeswoman Trista Jensen said Wednesday. “The shelters will be open to individuals or families who lived within the one-mile evacuation zone as long as they are needed.” Residents The News Messenger spoke with on Wednesday morning said they were being treated well but would still like to return home as soon as possible. “They didn’t let us go to bed or make beds available until 10:30 p.m.,” resident Judy Horn said. “Once I hit the sack, I was out.” Horn said families, single men and single women slept in separate areas inside the shelter. Most residents “went immediately to sleep,” according to resident Joe Gould. “The problem was people next to you were snoring or babies were crying,” Gould said. “The kids wanted to play basketball in the gym.” Gould and Horn said they received automated phone calls from the Lincoln Police Department, telling them to evacuate. “I miss the creature comforts of home,” Horn said. Leslie Reyes said she, her husband, son and dog slept in their car in the community center parking lot. “I got a solid two hours of sleep,” Reyes said. “Jose (Reyes, her husband) got called in this morning to work. He works for (Lincoln’s) streets department.” Her son, Terry Reyes, 20, said he slept for 45 minutes, and described his stay at the shelter as “good.” “I made some new friends, stayed up all night. It was a good experience,” Terry Reyes said. “We stayed up laughing all night.” Gina Castaneda said she and her husband almost stayed at their Joiner Parkway apartment after dropping their children off in another part of Lincoln with her mother-in-law. “I didn’t want to risk us exploding in our sleep and the kids not having parents anymore,” Castaneda said. Castaneda said she “just wanted to go home.” Emelia Rodrigues slept in her van, waking up at 6 a.m. after very little sleep, although she appeared grateful to have a place to park and sleep. “There were no seconds for hot dogs but I can’t complain,” Rodrigues joked, commenting on how nice the Salvation Army and Red Cross were treating evacuees. “They’ve been very nice. This morning, they gave us coffee and donuts. I’m glad the city is safe.”