Evacuee families face very different outcomes

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Ojai Valley News photo by Perry Van Houten
Evacuees Phil and Dana Phillips don breathing apparatus outside the Nordhoff High gym Dec. 6.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
The parking lot at Nordhoff High School filled with cars, trailers and motorhomes Dec. 5, as evacuees from the Thomas Fire fled to the evacuation shelter operated by the Red Cross there.
Nearly 600 people stayed overnight in the gym or in their vehicles the first two nights of operations at the shelter, according to shelter manager Bettye Berg.
The evacuees included Tom and Cindy Carver, who fled their Tico Road farm where they raise turkeys, chickens and goats.
Around 11 a.m. Dec. 5, the Carvers decided to leave their home of nine years.
“We saw the fire coming over the summit of Sulphur Mountain and it was just unchecked … we just said let's get out of here,” said Tom.
Resigned to losing their home, the Carvers loaded their two children, two dogs and 10 cats into a motorhome and prepared to leave for the shelter.
But the motorhome would not start, so they unpacked it and loaded everything into a trailer.
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Ojai Valley News photo by Perry Van Houten
Tom and Cindy Carver, their two dogs and trailer, at the Red Cross shelter at Nordhoff High School.

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