Tahoe residents support each other in fire
June 25, 2007
Shannon Shandera wasn’t positive her house was still standing but came to work at her job as a table games dealer at Harrah’s on Monday evening. She was evaculated, along with her husband and cat, from their house in Tahoe Paradise at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
“I grabbed pictures off the wall, some photo albums and got the cat’s crate out,” Shandera said. “My husband, Jim, put his golf clubs in the car and skis on the roof of the car. It was Sunday, so everyone was working and we didn’t know where to go. They’re putting us up for free at the Super 8. The owners are locals – they want to help out.”
Another dealer overheard her story and offered Shandera a place to stay.
“We have a cat,” Shandera said.
“It’s OK,” her co-worker said with outstretched arms.
Kathleen Dewing was shopping at Raley’s Monday before she went to work as the scheduling person at Barton Hospital. Dewing lives off Pioneer Trail and said she was watching the fire’s progress.
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“I’ve been living here for years and have my stuff in tubs,” said Dewing. “I have an itemized list and know what to take.”
Some items Dewing packs in her plastic tubs are photo albums, household paperwork, address book, cell phone charger and extra glasses.
“Whatever I need to make it through the day,” she said. “I’d panic if I wasn’t prepared.”
Dewing said quite a few nurses, doctors and other co-workers at Barton were affected by the fire but that staff had rallied to help each other.
“So many have pulled together, it’s been great,” she said. “People are offering their homes, taking in animals and taking over shifts. I’m glad I work here.”
Darcie Carpenter is the full-time emergency management coordinator at Barton Hospital.
“My job is to make sure we’re prepared and to set up incident command,” Carpenter said. “We’re helping staff as much as we possibly can.”
Carpenter said Monday afternoon that the latest number of Barton staff affected by the Angora Fire is 94 and that 15 staff members had already lost their homes.
“We make sure the staff gets fed and have clothes available. Staff has use of childcare services,” she said. “We get info from hotels about putting them up.”
Carpenter said it is required that the hospital train for emergency situations at regular intervals and last week’s training in preparedness was timely.
“Last Thursday we had an exercise that a fire threatened the hospital,” she said. “Along with severe weather like snow storms, forest fire is one of the highest hazards for us here.”
All these preparations are to ensure Barton Hospital, the community clinic across from the hospital and the Stateline Urgent Care Clinic stay open.
“We’re keeping the staff on duty,” Carpenter said. “The emergency room is operational – fully staffed and geared up.
“As long as the firefighters are fighting fires, we’re ready to respond,” she said.
Stateline casinos were staffed and ready, and although action wasn’t overly brisk on Monday afternoon, it was business as usual. Hotel and casino employees come to work despite snowstorms and forest fires to keep things running.
“We’re always here, 24/7,” said Horizon front desk agent Glen Gallardo. “When I hear the news, I want to do something but what am I supposed to do? Is there a way to help out?”
“I offered someone a ride and other people are offering rooms for people to live for a while. Any disaster will bring people together.”