People, Animals Seek Refuge from Detwiler Fire at Red Cross Shelters

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MERCED COUNTY -- Lydia Arre and her family, including her 83-year-old father, and 12-year-old grandson, are desperately waiting inside a shelter in Merced County, waiting to hear if their home is still standing.

"So I just went home and my adrenaline was rushing. Even a fire truck let me pass him. I guess he figured we were leaving work to go evacuate. So I got home and put stuff together for my family," Arre, who lives in Catheys Valley, said.

They are staying at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Planada along with other evacuees affected by the Detwiler Fire. She's grateful for the Red Cross and all the volunteers taking care of them -- dropping off donations to keep them comfortable.

"Because we live on the highway we have a lot of people that break down or accidents or whatever, so usually bring all those people in, so this is a new experience, to be a person in need," Arre said.

Volunteers helping those in need -- opening their doors not only to families, but to animals too.

The shelter had over 50 animals stay with them last night, including dogs, cats and even some guinea pigs and a donkey. Most of those animals being from a local evacuated animal shelter from Catheys Valley.

Katherine Montgomery with Dog Spot Rescue helped get those animals to safety.

"It was very stressful," Montgomery said.

She saw flames just a mile away from their animal shelter in Catheys Valley -- creeping closer and closer.

"Dogs were barking and carrying on. And our animals being put into crates, and they don't know what was happening. So yeah, it was, but it just had to be," Montgomery said.

Now, she`s moving the animals again. Crate after crate, but this time it's good news.

Montgomery found out the fire didn't reach the shelter.  But, they still need help.

"We need water until the electricity comes back. We need bottled water, that would be great," she said.

Heading home thankful. But leaving so many at the shelter still overwhelmed with uncertainty.

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