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Clover Fire evacuees rush to safety at Red Cross shelter

Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:27:14 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 10 2013 02:00:00 AM CDT

SHASTA COUNTY

Destroyed homes and other structures forced people to seek shelter from the Clover Fire.

COTTONWOOD, Calif. -

Destroyed homes and other structures forced people to seek shelter, as the Clover Fire tore through Shasta County.

Several families took what they could and headed for safety at the American Red Cross facility set up at the First Baptist Church in Cottonwood.

"We can't go back. They told us once we left we couldn't go back in," said Terry Wilkie from Anderson. “I stayed for quite a while, but [my family] left. They told us to leave within 30 minutes after the fire started."

As the Clover Fire moved closer, he got a first-hand look at the dangers headed his way. According to Red Cross officials, it is something they are prepared to handle.

"We're just in what we call the ‘mass care phase.’ So, right now we just have the shelter open,” said Red Cross employee Eric Kiltz. “We had 18 people stay here [Monday] night. We've had people trickle in and out throughout the day."

It is a makeshift home, with cots to sleep on and food for folks in need. However, Red Cross employees are looking towards what lies ahead.

"We’re kind of anticipating that in the coming days we might actually have to do some case work out in the field,” said Kiltz. “We actually look at the home, and figure out what the level of damage is. Based on that, if people need our assistance, we can give them assistance at that point."

UPDATE: After assessing the path of the Clover Fire, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office has asked the Red Cross to relocate its shelter in Cottonwood to the Igo Community Church. Red Cross officials said they are doing this to be closer to the affected areas and closer to people's homes. This change will go into effect at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.