Battle of the evacuation centers

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Del Mar Fairgrounds:

There were no blues bands, massage therapists or acupuncturists, but evacuee Roger Heater of Fallbrook was already feeling pretty good about his new home at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“I can’t believe it, but it’s even better here,” said Heater, 64, who imoved to the evacuation center from Qualcomm Stadium and is receiving medical treatment at the shelter for a heart condition. “They don’t make you feel like a nobody. They make you feel like a somebody. Just look what they’re feeding us.”

Heater’s Fallbrook neighbor, Carmine Sperduto, passed by with a plate full of enchiladas, burritos, beans and coleslaw.

In the morning, the 115 evacuees were served eggs, sausage and hash browns. As much as Sperduto appreciated the hot meal and the hospitality, he admitted a week on the road was catching up to him.

“I don’t like to live like this,” he said. “I’d rather be home.”

Sperduto, a retired truck driver, transferred to the fairgrounds Thursday night after three nights at
Qualcomm and showered for the first time since he was evacuated from his Fallbrook apartment Sunday.

“There were thousands of people in line to shower at Qualcomm, so you couldn’t get in there,” said Sperduto, 54, wearing a donated green sweater and blue jeans. “The hot water here felt great. It really bothered me to be that dirty.”


-- Dave Mckibben