Some defying Border Fire evacuation order

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 23:56:21-04

The spreading Border Fire forced hundreds of East County families out of their homes, but not everyone followed orders.

Allen Fowler is one of them. He isn't supposed to be in the middle of Lake Morena Village. But he is. 

"Until I see a squirrel running down the road on fire, we're going to be here," he said. 

Cal Fire officials say the Border Fire is getting too close to Fowler's home. They called for an evacuation Tuesday, but Fowler and a handful of others wouldn't budge. They're instead passing time at the Oak Shores Malt Shop in the middle of Lake Morena Village. 

Tami and Erik Mendez and their two kids are passing the time by playing cards.

"We kind of think it's unnecessary," Tami Mendez said. "When we see the flames, we'll leave. We're packed and ready."

Erik Mendez said staying behind is about protecting his property.

"They know that the homes are evacuated, they know that no one's here," he said. "My wife and I, we just bought our first house, so we're not about to give that up to anybody."

The locals almost didn't have a place to go. Oak Shores Malt Shop owner Matauy Nisso doesn't live in Campo, and initially couldn't get past police lines. Instead, he said he hitched a ride from a local to get through.

Others who evacuated couldn't get back in. Michael McGee and his wife Phyllis Morgan are stuck about eight miles from Lake Morena Village. They're sleeping in their cars with about a dozen of their pets, which he said are rescue animals.

"We're hoping that by the time this is all said and done, we're able to go back to our house," McGee said.