Families find shelter with friends after evacuation center closes

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (KTVU) – The Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga closed Thursday, sending victims to shelters in Lake County or to anyone willing to open their doors.

Many evacuees left without a home have sought shelter at the Twin Pine Casino & Hotel in Middletown.

Rick Wilson and his family of four in Hidden Valley Lake have welcomed relatives and two of their children’s friends in their home. It means there are 11 people staying inside his three bedroom, two bath house.

 “It’s crazy with a lot of people in a small space,” Wilson said. “We’re just putting everybody wherever we can.”

His son Jonathan and daughter Jillian each have a friend staying with them.

 “Now there’s just tons of people everywhere,” Jonathan said. “It’s not exactly the biggest house to fit 11 people in but we’ll make it work.”

Jillian’s best friend, Megan, lost her home and she does not want to leave town in the middle of her freshman year.

 “Megan is staying with us because she still wants to go to the same school,” Jillian said.

 “I felt like I was intruding at first, but she’s my best friend so I’m lucky to have her,” Megan said.

Melissa Reece, Wilson’s sister-in-law, and her family of five are also staying with Wilson. Her house in Middletown was destroyed.

 “Most of the people who have houses left have invited people in because there’s so many people without a house right now,” she said.

Everyone is making do on the couches or on the wrestling mats in the garage. There is also a dog, cat, and a rabbit, but despite the full house, Wilson said they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s really hard to say no when we ask so we make it work,” Wilson added.

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