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Merchants serve from the heart during fire


Last updated 10/27/2007 at Noon

A handful of local merchants are clearly showing the level of dedication they have to their customers continuing to serve local residents that, for various reasons, did not evacuate due to the fire that began Monday, October 22.

Sam Logan, owner of Major Market, kept his store open and was on site with a limited crew, in order to provide food and other necessities to residents in need. Although store hours were reduced, residents openly showed their gratitude to Logan and his staff.

"I'm just doing what a group of my employees said they could do," Logan said. "They have all offered to come in and work so that we can do this." Residents eagerly purchased food items to sustain them through the fire ordeal.

Rite Aid kept their doors open to provide medication and other merchandise to the public, and offered one rather unique favor – they allowed a rather friendly group of llamas and goats to reside in their outdoor Garden Department on the east side of the building. Protected by ironwork and a solid roof, the livestock happily grazed on fresh hay inside the enclosure, watching the public go in and out of the store.

Wes Salem of Cashuk, Wiseman, Goldberg, Birnbaum & Salem LLP, worked valiantly to secure more gasoline for local residents after all stations ran out late Monday trying to meet the demand for evacuees. Salem, along with his partners, own two Shell gas stations in Fallbrook – one at Ammunition and Main and another at East Mission and Santa Margarita.

Salem secured a delivery of gasoline Tuesday afternoon that allowed him to provide gas to remaining residents after explaining that the gas tanker driver had to negotiate his way past five roadblocks to get into Fallbrook. Salem, after speaking with the local law enforcement agencies, received clearance for more gas deliveries to arrive late Tuesday evening.

"I'm just trying to take care of the people that are here," Salem said. "I'm just trying to do everything I can to help them." In addition, Salem offered free beverages and snacks to all law enforcement and fire personnel at both stations.

Club Paradise, a local fitness center, kept their doors open this week thanks to staff member Mark Raymond who said the center extended an invitation to emergency workers to use their showers as needed.

Pala Mesa Resort, sustaining heavy damage due to the fire, still stepped forward and offered the use of a few rooms that were left unscathed to emergency personnel for showers and rest.

With a significant number of evacuees taking refuge in their parking lot, the Fallbrook Albertsons store, although not open to the public, has shown their generosity.

Residents staying in the parking lot in cars, campers and motor homes say the store manager has routinely come around asking if any of the evacuees need anything and has provided food, beverages, baby diapers, and other essentials out of the store at no charge.

On Tuesday, three restaurants appeared to be attempting to serve food to those still in Fallbrook. In addition to Sourdough Pizza & Italian Restaurant, who was regularly serving emergency personnel, Las Brisas Mexican Restaurant and Robertito's Taco Shop were operating.

"We're just trying to do what we can," said a staffer at Las Brisas. "People need to eat."

In addition, most liquor/convenience stores remained open in Fallbrook to serve residents and the stream of emergency workers. In addition, a water store in the 800 block of Main continued to serve customers.


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