The SLT evacuation center in Reno will be closed



RENO, Nevada (KOLO) – Richard LaTella sits on his Red Cross bed singing “Rock Me on the Water” at the evacuation center at the Reno Sparks Convention Center.

The opening text of the song: “Oh people look around you, the signs are all …” rather reflects the atmosphere of the center, which is now less than half full.

The center held about 800 evacuees last week who stayed for almost seven days. But after evacuation was lifted for most of South Lake Tahoe on Sunday, most returned to their homes.

“I mean who knows?” asks LaTella. “Maybe I’ll stay here. I played up there in front of the Marriott for 13 years, just fixing the guitar, ”he says.

Most of the people who left the center were homeowners, renters, or students who worked in South Lake Tahoe that summer. Others at the center may be homeless or have medical conditions that need to be more than adequate in Tahoe. For example, you need electricity. Or, they may need medical transportation to get back home.

In the past three days, several buses have picked up evacuees who were more than anxious to sleep in their own beds tonight. You will admit that the conditions weren’t too bad. Each person had a cot. Three meals a day were served with snacks. Showers were provided. And services like mental health and spiritual counseling have been available to some who, until now, may not have thought they needed them.

300 volunteers were on duty in the last week. Joaquin Roces has seen many disasters during his tenure with the Red Cross, but as a local he took this emergency relief to heart.

“This is the largest shelter our chapter has put together for active DR,” says Roces. “It’s a successful operation for this chapter and the Red Cross at the national level,” he says. The center will remain open as long as there is a need.

Richard says he’s going back to South Lake Tahoe to pick up his bike and personal effects. From then on, his options are open; Stay at six thousand feet or head to the sea with less smoke in the air.

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