SAN FRANCISCO - The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has displaced many immigrant families. Some are now staying in hotels and shelters. The Ramirez family of Windsor was evacuated twice over the weekend. They sought refuge at the new shelter at St Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco that opened Monday morning.
On Saturday, Anthony Ramirez, his wife Minerva, their daughter Metzli and her six-year-old son Marcos Enriques Ramirez were forced to leave their home so they went to stay with a friend in Santa Rosa. But early Sunday morning, a mandatory evacuation order came for that area as well.
"Stressed a little bit because we are used to [going] to work every day, but not now," said Anthony who works at a veterinary hospital. His wife is a housecleaner.
They say their places of employment have no power so they can't go to work.
The family came to San Francisco because there is power. They stayed at a hotel room Sunday until they learned about the shelter opening at St. Mary's Cathedral.
"We saw it on Channel 2 News," said the couple's daughter Metzli.
The family says the shelter offered them a safe place: beds, food and other necessities to help them cope with the uncertainty.
"Those who lost their homes the first night, late Wednesday night are from the vineyards and agricultural areas of Sonoma County," said Ariel Kelley CEO of Corazon Healdsburg, a nonprofit family resource center.
She said the group is currently helping more than 1,000 immigrant families. Most are farm and vineyard workers who have been displaced by the fire. Kelley said services provided include money for food and gas.
"That's the funds we're providing now to help people get to a safe space because we don't know when we're going to be able to go back."
The Ramirez family says they're taking one step at a time.
The shelter serves as a refuge, as they worry about whether the fire will destroy their home and how to pay their bills. The shelter is a temporary home and their best option for now.
"We don't want to spend the money we have saved for a hotel. We like it there. It's okay," said Minerva Ramirez. Volunteers said the capacity for the shelter at St. Mary's Cathedral is 200 people and that there is room for more.