Redding, CA’s Bethel Church Under Fire for Not Opening its Doors for People Fleeing Wildfire

Bethel Church is responding to backlash online for not opening up as an evacuation center for people in the Redding area.

Lauren Vallotton is the local church operations director for Bethel Church.

“This place wasn’t safe for large crowds, because we have one road in and one road out of our facility,” Vallotton told ABC10.

A spokesperson for American Red Cross said Bethel Church offered their site as an evacuation center, but their location was too close to the fire line to have people staying overnight. Instead the church worked with the Salvation Army to be a distribution hub.

On Monday morning, people will be able able to pick up any necessities they need. In spite of what people are spreading online, Bethel Church said they are committed to helping their community.

Many of their staff also had to evacuate.

“I think what happened those nights when the evacuation started happening so quickly and we had to make sure everybody is safe,” Vallotton said. “As quickly as possible we were able to communicate what was happening, but I think in any crisis situation you’re only a couple of steps ahead of yourself.”

Bethel Church will open up as a distribution center Monday at 9 a.m. Donations will not be accepted at the church, but at Salvation Army.

SOURCE: Ananda Rochita
ABC 10