MT. SHASTA, Calif.— Over a 150 people have been affected by evacuation notices from the Delta Fire according to fire officials. While not everyone has chosen to leave their homes behind, some have no other choice.
At the evacuation center in Mt. Shasta, George and Vikki Rhinehert have spent the past several nights there after immediately evacuating when the fire broke out.
“If you wait till the last minute, everybody is going to try and be leaving at the same time,” said George. “We just got out of their because we have a kid and it’s more important to get us out of there then stay around and get burned up you know.”
Leaving their home of eight years with their grandson, there wasn’t an option to stay due to health issues for both George and Vikki. George has pulmonary lung disease and Vikki has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – both already make it difficult to breathe but when smoke is added, the effects can be deadly.
If they chose to stay at their home, it could have proved fatal. So instead, with little time to waste, the Rhinehert’s grabbed what essentials they could including someone they couldn’t leave behind.
“Her sister’s ashes,” said George, pointing at Vikki. “She just died a month ago so…”
In the mad dash to get out, while basic necessities and pets were grabbed, George and Vikki made sure to take Vikki’s sister with them before they left. Her name was Sandra Flud and her ashes along with a picture were some of the last memories they carry of her.
According to George, Sandra passed away from lung disease, a similar form to George’s. Her battle something both Vikki and George know all to well. But even though Sandra may be gone, George says they still hold onto her ashes and the photo to give to her son one day.
And back at their home, set aside is a memorial for Sandra with other elements of her life that they weren’t able to take with them in time. But George is hopeful their house and the memorial are still there and they will be able to return to it soon.
“I hope we get to go home,” he said. “I hope everything is going to be OK.”
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.