Red Cross continuing to help residents impacted by Tulare County fires

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As wildfires continue to scorch parts of Tulare County, the Red Cross set up a temporary evacuation site right here at Porterville College's gym.

Volunteers are helping evacuees find safety among the anxiety along with emotional support.

"We try to make it as comfortable and as inviting as we possibly can because this is going to be their home away from home for a while," says Red Cross Central Valley Executive Director Lori Wilson.

The Red Cross is serving about a dozen to two dozen people each day, providing meals, a shower, a cot with bedding, and peace of mind.

"There was an evacuation kind of planned, we went ahead and left and we couldn't go back," says Audrey and Marvin Stonecipher.

Marvin and Audrey Stonecipher have been married for 67 years. This is their third time evacuating the Camp Nelson area.

On Tuesday, they came to the evacuation site for more information about the fires.

While they have a second house in Porterville, all they want is to go back to their home now in danger of burning down.

"I just wish somebody would let us go up there for 15 minutes to grab a couple of things and come on down," they said.

"I just feel myself as a vessel to be able to help these people move forward," says Debby Dailey.

Dailey is one of the volunteers helping people like the Stoneciphers get through the hardship.

She's been volunteering with Red Cross for 45 years. And she, too, has had to evacuate a number of times.

That's why she rolls up her sleeves to give back to those in need.

"I've been a firefighter, I've been a nurse, I've been an educator and I just have to give back because people have opened the doors for me to be able to have those pleasures to be able to do that," she said.

Tulare County residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertTC to receive emergency alert notifications and other time-sensitive messages.
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