Football returns as relief mission ends at Qualcomm

first_img“We needed a break, a diversion,” said Dolan, a Chargers season-ticket holder. “It was a battle – we still weren’t sure last night when we went to bed whether we’d come.” Regular fans also worried about the lingering smoke, including Diana Morris, who said she almost didn’t make the hourlong trip to Qualcomm from her home in Orange County because she has asthma. “We didn’t know what the air quality would be like, but it’s OK,” said her husband, Dick, a retired teacher, as they shared a picnic lunch with friends outside a stadium gate. The disaster wasn’t forgotten by the team or its corporate sponsors. They arranged to have volunteers collect cash donations at each stadium entrance. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Allison Hoffman THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN DIEGO – Thousands of tailgaters packed into Qualcomm Stadium’s parking lot Sunday, replacing the cars and camping tents that housed wildfire evacuees all week with a field of blue-and-yellow Chargers sunshades. Smoke from blazes still burning to the east stained the sky over the coliseum, but the rich meat-scented haze rising from hundreds of charcoal-briquet barbecues erased any lingering wildfire smell. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“Someone was probably living in this stall all week in a tent,” said Jarred Pellegrini, 20, as he unloaded an Igloo cooler from the back of his dad’s sport-utility vehicle. Nothing was left of those tents, which were carted away Friday, along with hundreds of cots and blankets used by more than 10,000 people who called the stadium home after fleeing their neighborhoods. People who were still under evacuation orders or whose homes were destroyed were sent Friday to the Del Mar Fairgrounds 20 miles away after city officials decided to close relief operations at Qualcomm. About 130 remained at Del Mar on Sunday, according to Red Cross officials. “I guess a football game is more important,” evacuee Tami Swartz, 41, had said Friday as she made plans to return to her home in hard-hit Ramona, even though at the time water had not been restored there. But other evacuees said Sunday they welcomed any semblance of normalcy. Janis Dolan, 43, decided to leave her two sons with friends and head to the game with her husband Paul, even though they were still living in a hotel, waiting for power to be restored to their otherwise unscathed street in Poway a week after they fled. last_img

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