PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Some people evacuated from the Caldor Fire zone are going on their second week seeking another place to live. One evacuee we spoke to Sunday said she was forced out of her hotel room to accommodate someone else’s reservations.
“At this point, what you got is what you got,” said Melissa Gustafson.READ MORE: Video Released Of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Of Tahoe Park Resident Who Shot At Authorities
Gustafson is a Caldor evacuee now staying with family in the Bay Area because she could not find another hotel room closer to the evacuation zone.
“We were told that they had no vacancies and we were already in our room, like ‘I’m not understanding, is there a way we could pay whatever to extend our stay?’ ” she said.
Gustafson and her family of seven left the Best Western in Placerville this weekend. She says the bill of several hundred dollars for her room was paid for by a woman behind her in line.
“A lady behind me was Cal Fire and told me she would take care of my bill for me, and I was just so happy!” Gustafson said. “We don’t have anything. What do you do when you have nothing?”
On the same day she was forced further from the fire zone, Gustafson also saw the first pictures of her destroyed home.
“It’s completely gone,” she said.READ MORE: Coroner Identifies Passenger Killed In Wrong-Way DUI Crash On Highway 99
Everything inside appeared lost.
“And my husband’s mom and dad’s ashes,” Gustafson said.
Hotels in the Placerville area confirmed they are at full capacity. A spokesperson at the Cary House in Placerville said up to 90% of their guests are now evacuees.
As tourists cancel stays, some opportunities open for more evacuees.
For Gustafson’s family, the heartbreak of losing everything is now coupled with the hardship of finding a place to stay.
“No, I don’t have a plan yet. I’m still in limbo,” she said. “I don’t know where to start, I don’t know where to begin.”MORE NEWS: Looting Suspect Accused Of Dozens Of Thefts Arrested In South Lake Tahoe
The Red Cross has set up three shelters. Two are full. Right now, a third in El Dorado Hills does have room for evacuees.