California Dreaming at Fire Refugee Shelter

A cot at Qualcomm comes with massage
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 5:42 AM CDT
Beth Faber Jacobs, left, and other volunteers serve food to wildfire evacuees Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. The stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, is being used...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As California burns, 9,000 residents have evacuated to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. But for those who remember the horror of the New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane  Katrina, this refuge is stunningly well-appointed, and very California.
Benefits include Starbucks coffee, free massages and acupuncture, and a constant stream of emergency workers. "It's better service than [at] a restaurant," said one happy camper.

The city of San Diego is running the center, but businesses have donated almost all supplies. "Refugees" can choose between Vietnamese food, empanadas or pizza for lunch. The living conditions are so opulent that, for some, the shelter is a step up from their normal lives. One homeless man at the stadium broke down in tears of joy upon arrival.