Cascade Locks turns into ghost town as Eagle Creek Fire forces r - KPTV - FOX 12

Cascade Locks turns into ghost town as Eagle Creek Fire forces residents to leave

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Cascade Locks, once a vibrant community, quickly turned into a ghost town as the Eagle Creek Fire forced residents to relocate.

The only place that stayed open in Cascade Locks was the Columbia Market. The owner, Albert Choi, said his business that's now hidden behind a cloud of smoke is his livelihood.

“This is my life, my whole life. I tried to protect it for the community too," Choi said.

While business left and right closed around him, he kept his neon sign on. 

“I feel bad for the local people, where do they go to buy? The highway is closed, inconvenience, I’m trying to open for the community, I belong to the community," said Choi.

Katie Murphy is an employee at the store. She was also shocked to hear the many "thank you's" from people passing through.

“Just seeing a lot of people coming in and being thankful that we're open,” said Murphy.

A couple was driving around town looking for food while wearing face masks. They said they were happy to see the store was open, but sad to see the buildings fade behind the heavy smoke.

“I just pray for our mother and all of our inhabitants, that's all you can do. Rain, hopefully it rains," the couple said.

As they topped out, people nearby rolled in from towns nearing Level Three evacuations.

“I feel like we're going to get evacuated at some point, we just don’t know when. I mean we have plans in place but we’re trying to stick it out," Andrew Sobieski said.

Firefighters, people from out of town, and people coming back to town were reliant on this market. All were happy to see the lights on inside, but hoping and praying they can return home soon.

Everyone north of Wa NA Pa Street were at a Level Two evacuation stage. Choi is among those people and was hoping he won't have to relocate.

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