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Facing a blinking slot machine, Suzanne Curry hoped her luck would get better.

Curry fled the Ramona wildfires on Sunday, taking shelter in an El Cajon motel. Wednesday, she escaped the tedium of her motel room for the Viejas Casino in Alpine, where she played the slots, hoping the frenetic lights and chirping machines would distract her from her worries.

“I was really shook up,” Curry said, describing her family’s hurried exodus from Ramona. “We didn’t have time to grab anything except our cat — and we ran.”

Curry hadn’t heard whether her home was intact, nor when she might be able to return.

As he wandered between the slots, Billy Mosley couldn’t escape thoughts of the disaster. Mosley works at the Sycuan Casino, and has no permanent home. This week, he slept on his sister’s couch in National City, he said. He wandered into the Viejas Casino on Wednesday to watch television and gauge which way the blaze was heading.

“I wish Superman was here to blow all this stuff out,” Mosley said. “I wish a lot of things. Even a tidal wave, just to blow the fires out.”

And though John Mimarick found the casino cheery, he was preoccupied by dark thoughts, even in the glittering arcade. Before stopping into Viejas Casino with his wife, he spent three hours praying for the winds to die down.

“I think God is trying to teach people who don’t want to live right, who are evil,” he said. “This time he’s trying to destroy us with fire.”

EMILY ALPERT

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