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Mountain Empire High shelters more than 100 people as Border 32 Fire burns

People evacuating at Mountain Empire High School
Border 32 fire picture
Brush Fire: Border 32 Fire in San Diego County
Posted at 11:27 AM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 14:31:44-04

DULZURA, Calif. (KGTV) — For more than a hundred people forced to evacuate, Mountain Empire High School has become their temporary home as they wait to find out the impact of the Border 32 Fire on their property and belongings.

“It’s something you have to live with. It’s never easy, and the hardest part is not knowing,” Sergio Garcia says.

Garcia says he takes comfort in knowing his wife, parents and son made it out of their Potrero home, especially after they saw pictures showing how close the fire was getting to their neighborhood.

Although they were able to grab some belongings, they had to leave behind their two horses.

"We left the gate to the ranch open. If they need to run out they can run out," Garcia says.

RELATED: Border 32 Fire scorches more than 4,200 acres in Dulzura, evacuations in place

Reuben Ledesma has a similar story. He was at work when he got a call about mandatory evacuations at his house.

His family rushed to Mountain Empire High School, which is one of the evacuation sites the American Red Cross is running.

Ledesma says this is a stressful time, but being with his neighbors and family makes it bearable.

"It makes it a little easier to cope with all of this,“ he says.

And then there’s Ronnie Fukuda, who says he lost everything. His stepmother says she saw everything burn as she called 911 for help.

“She could hear things blowing up. All my tools — everything — service trucks,” Fukuda says.

Fukuda says he’s thankful his family made it out in time. However, now he must deal with what happens next.

“Everything else you can always replace. It may take time," he says. "You have to take everything like a grain of salt. You have to take the good with the bad. Things happen for a reason."

If you would like to donate to help these families, contact the American Red Cross.