Wildfires destroy, force evacuations at California senior living communities

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Wildfires destroy, force evacuations at California senior living communities
Wildfires destroy, force evacuations at California senior living communities

Several senior living communities have been evacuated, and at least one has been destroyed, as wildfires continue to burn across parts of California.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on Tuesday said that 17 fires have burned more than 115,000 acres, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and the destruction of 1,500 homes and commercial structures. More than 20,000 people have been evacuated, and many areas are without electricity and gas — the former because of outages and the latter because gas service was shut off. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared states of emergency in eight counties.

Windsor, CA-based Oakmont Senior Living evacuated four of its 25 communities Monday, all in Santa Rosa, under a state order based on location. Some residents left with family or friends, and others went to or were taken to Oakmont of Montecito in Concord or to a Belmont Village Senior Living community, the company said.

Tuesday, Oakmont officials said that its 163-unit Varenna community sustained slight damage, but its 63-unit Villa Capri community was destroyed. The structures of the 70-unit Fountaingrove Lodge and the 33-unit The Terraces were unharmed, although the company expects smoke damage.

“Our focus continues to be on the care, welfare and safety of our residents and staff,” Chris Kasulka, president and CEO of Oakmont Management Group, said in a statement. “We want to thank our staff, residents and Oakmont families for all of their support during this difficult time.”

Oakmont said it is setting up a website to collect donations in response to inquiries the company has received. All proceeds will go to Oakmont staff members, according to the company.

A nearby trailer park retirement community called Journey's End also was destroyed in the fire, according to several media reports. And residents of the 29-unit Country Inn assisted living community in Napa were evacuated to a church, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brookdale Senior Living evacuated five communities under state order based on location. Residents of Brookdale Anaheim Hills and Brookdale Rohnert Park were expected to return home Tuesday, as those buildings were intact.

Residents from Brookdale Chanate were relocated to Brookdale Diablo Road and Brookdale San Pablo. The Brookdale Chanate building is intact, the company said, but the area is without power, so the company is working with authorities on a timeline for residents to return home.

Monday, memory care residents of Brookdale Fountaingrove were relocated to Brookdale Fairfield. Skilled nursing residents of the community were evacuated to Smith Valley Skilled Facility. Assisted living residents temporarily moved to Brookdale Folsom and Brookdale Orangevale. The company was still waiting to confirm the status of the building Tuesday night.

Residents from Brookdale Paulin Creek also were evacuated Monday morning. Independent living residents were relocated to Brookdale Vallejo Hills, and memory care residents went to other communities, including Brookdale Fairfield and Atria Tamalpais Creek. Assisted living residents were relocated to Brookdale San Ramon. Brookdale said the Brookdale Paulin Creek building is intact, but the area is without power, so the company is working with authorities on a timeline for residents to return home.

Residents were sheltering in place at four other Brookdale communities — Brookdale Fairfield, Brookdale Napa, Brookdale Sonoma and Brookdale Clearlake, according to the company.

Even in areas without fire, California health officials are continuing to advise area residents to minimize their outdoor activities due to smoke.

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