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Evacuees speak after fire burns more than 100 acres near Layton

Posted at 1:14 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 12:20:50-04

(Update: Evacuations were lifted at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Original story continues below)

LAYTON, Utah -- The Snoqualmie fire forced more than 100 homes to be evacuated Monday night.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Mountain View Baptist Church to provide food, water and information to people as they wait to return home.

As of Tuesday morning, the Red Cross had seen about 50 people at the evacuation center.

Randy Debenham and his wife were two of the people that showed up the evacuation center to sleep in their van for the night.

“I was anticipating them coming by because word was going around that they were going to and so they did, we were the second, I think—they took everybody up on top first,”  Debenham said.

Amber Smedley and her kids were also among those in the 100 to 120 homes evacuated. Luckily, they had a relative’s home to sleep at for the night.

“My daughter had come in, knocked on the door and said, 'Mom, there’s a fire up on the hill' and I’m like what, and we just got up, and having the Bountiful fire just recently, I had thought through my head, OK, if there were fires you know what would I do, what would I grab? So kind of went into that immediate mode,” Smedley said.

For many people, the main concern was making sure they got out of their homes safely, while also managing to pack up some valuables.

“I grabbed things that I knew couldn’t be replaced, pictures that couldn’t be replaced, and thought OK the rest is just going to go if it’s going to go,” said Kris Anderson.

“When they ask you to leave you just say OK, everyone is running around gathering their stuff, and it’s like, it’s just stuff; go enjoy your evening, and come back. If you lose everything, you lose everything, and you just start over again,” Debenham said.

People also made sure to pack up their animals.

“I have my cat, and so I have to take care of him and try to figure out where to take him so I can go to work,” Smedley said.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams is now back home in Layton.

"It’s always a tough thing to leave your home, but I can’t say enough about the firefighters," Adams said. "We sensed we might have to (evacuate), so we were trying to get a few things together, but it’s traumatic to have to leave your home... It’s really really nice to go back into your house."

Mike Montoya was evacuated Monday night. He came back Tuesday morning, relieved to see his house still standing, even though wasn't allowed back in.

"All that stuff they say about 72-hour kits is probably a good idea," Montoya said, then laughed, "I’m just waiting to get back in there so I can take a shower!"

"I’ll agree to whatever (firefighters) say, you know?" Larry Humphrey said. "They know what’s going on!"

The Red Cross opened overnight and plans to stay open until the evacuation is over, providing people with food water and shelter.

“The Red Cross is here to take care of their needs and just to be that comfort, and that care, and that hope,” said Michael Smauldon with the Red Cross

As far as donations go, the Red Cross said they don’t need any more perishable items. They have everything they need to provide for the people evacuated in the Snoqualmie fire.