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Some Valley Fire Evacuees Anxious To Return Home, Frustrated Over CHP Checkpoint

MIDDLETOWN (KPIX 5) – The main road into Middletown remained blocked on Thursday, as officers at a California Highway Patrol checkpoint decided who's allowed in and who's not.

"We're checking everybody to make sure we are keeping the people out who don't need to be there," said Officer Mark Fowers of the CHP.

Jane Strickler, who is stuck outside the checkpoint, told KPIX 5, "No letting many people in, if any."

But for the truly determined, who also own a four-wheel drive, there's always a Plan B.

"That thing's been off-road from Mexico to Canada so I think we can manage to get to Hidden Valley Lake if we have to," said Allen Teichert, who lives in Hidden Valley Lake.

Larry Hurd, who also lives in Hidden Valley Lake, said, "We have our couple of tricks, but we'll see."

CHP told these gentlemen if they want back in, they have to sign up and wait in line for a police escort. Only fire officials and utility crews crossing the checkpoint for the foreseeable future.

But waiting isn't an option when you're talking your health. "It's been a week since I haven't had these medications and I'd like to get them back," Hurd said.

Teichert said, "I'm a diabetic and I got some insulin in there I'd like to pick up."

Officer Mark Fowers defended having a checkpoint, saying, "To make sure we're not just opening up and letting everyone in there, we got to keep controls in place."

But for evacuees, when home is so close but so far, following the rules is easier said than done.

"There's dirt roads everywhere around here," said Ace Cook of Middletown. "If you got a four-wheel drive truck, you can probably make it to your house."

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