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San Diego fires hit Qualcomm

San Diego fires hit Qualcomm

Qualcomm is a big player in the mobile industry and the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2007 is a key event for it to attend, but that means little during a week when fire is threatening the San Diego area where the company is based.

About 30 percent of the Qualcomm executives and other employees attending CTIA in San Francisco left to return home before the show's end. Qualcomm, in a phone message distributed to the home, office and cell numbers of all San Diego-area employees advised, "Don't come to work. Take care of your family and your homes, and when you're done taking care of your family take care of your community," said Greg Raleigh, vice president of product management for Qualcomm's QCT business, who remains at CTIA and whose family lives in Silicon Valley.

"There are hundreds of colleagues who had to evacuate their homes," Raleigh said Wednesday afternoon. "There are 12 Qualcomm employees who lost their homes as of Tuesday night and two of them I know personally."

Eileen Algaze, director of public relations, said her boss had to return home from San Francisco, but stayed in Algaze's home in Orange County because the woman's home was in an evacuation area.

"She just texted me that her house is safe," Algaze said.

Qualcomm employees also volunteered to help evacuees staying at Qualcomm Stadium, which has been turned into an evacuation center for those displaced by the fires. The city-owned stadium, for which the mobile processor maker paid for naming rights in 1997s, is the home of the San Diego Chargers football team.

Watching TV news reports from Qualcomm Stadium on its role in helping evacuees was touching, said Algaze.

"It just makes you feel good because it's your company that is doing this," she said. "It does something for employee morale."

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