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Vincent Ruggiero and his wife, Carol, watched news coverage of the fires on a television inside the Mira Mesa High School shelter around lunchtime. They watched in disbelief as cameras showed images of people on their roofs with garden hoses trying to protect their homes.

“That hose isn’t going to do anything,” Vincent Ruggiero said. The Ruggieros remember the Cedar Fire from 2003 but said it feels a lot different when it’s your home being evacuated.

“We’ve never experienced this before,” he said. “Last night, we knew where the fire was and then we woke up this morning to Mayor Sanders issuing warnings for the city of San Diego.”

In their home in Rancho Peñasquitos the Ruggieros got a reverse 911 call this morning that said they should prepare to leave. Even though it was a warning, not a mandatory evacuation, the couple left their home. Both spoke through tears as they talked about some friends of theirs who watched their home burn to the ground on TV today.

“The phone call said, ‘prepare,’ but we gathered up some stuff, about a tenth of what we have, and left,” Vincent Ruggiero said.

KELLY BENNETT

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