Samarkand Returns to Normal, Montecito Meets in Hotel

Post a Comment » Written on May 11th, 2009     
Filed under: News
SANTA BARBARA, CA (May 11, 2009) –Residents and staff at The Samarkand in Santa Barbara breathed a sign of relief after being on high alert since the Jesusita fire broke out Tuesday last week.

Campus operations have returned to normal, although a considerable effort is under way to clean up the substantial layer of ash and soot that coats the community.

CommunionSamarkand Executive Director Paul Peterson praises heroic firefighters whose efforts on late Thursday and early Friday morning stopped the fire from crossing Foothill Road and spreading to the city. Peterson estimates the fire stopped about one mile from the Samarkand campus.

Several of the approximately eight employees who had to evacuate, including one family of three, initially sought shelter at The Samarkand. All returned to their homes over the weekend.

Meanwhile, members of Montecito Covenant Church met for worship at a local hotel on Sunday because their building is located in an area that still was under mandatory evacuation due to the Jesusita fire.

“What’s weird is that this is the second time in less than 12 months that Montecito has had to worship in evacuation due to fire,” Pastor Don Johnson wrote on his blog Sunday afternoon. “Our staff, in planning this service, referred to their old evacuation order of worship. How many evacuation services should a church be able to refer to, especially in one year?”

City officials lifted the evacuation orders on Sunday morning. Many of the church members were among the roughly 31,000 people forced to evacuate their homes since the fire started last Tuesday.

Editor’s note: the accompanying photo was taken during Sunday morning’s communion service.

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