As the damage and death toll from the Camp Fire and other fires in California continue to grow, senior living operators are trying to help one another through monetary and other assistance.
The fire in Northern California, which began Thursday, is believed to be the most destructive ever in the state and one of the most deadly. It has burned more than 6,000 structures and across 111,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
As of Sunday, the death toll was 29; 228 people were still missing, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea; and the fire was 25% contained, Cal Fire said.
None of the deaths reported involved senior living residents, although at least one senior living community resident, Julian BInstock, was still missing as of Sunday, his granddaughter tweeted. Binstock had been evacuated Thursday from Feather Canyon Retirement Community in Paradise, CA, from which another evacuated resident had gone missing Thursday but was found several hours later.
Local TV reporter Madison Meyer tweeted photos of walkers and other items that had been abandoned outside the retirement community.
Andrew Levin, Atria Senior Living regional vice president, Central Valley – California, told McKnight’s Senior Living on Friday that “the Atria Paradise building has suffered substantial fire damage, but it is still too soon to know the full extent of the damage.”
San Francisco Chronicle writer Kurtis Alexander tweeted video of the fire at the independent living, assisted living and memory care community, judging it “destroyed.”
“Our focus now continues to be on the safety and comfort of our residents and employees,” Levin said Friday. “We have safely evacuated all Atria Paradise residents to a hotel near Sacramento, where they enjoyed a breakfast buffet followed by a day of games and movies and other entertainment. Residents are in good spirits, and we remain in close contact with family members. We appreciate the efforts of our local emergency response teams for their service and quick response.”
Organizations are providing assistance
LeadingAge California is collecting donations for those affected by this and other fires burning in the state, and the California Assisted Living Association, an Argentum state partner, is maintaining a document via which operators can share their ability to help peer communities.
“We are monitoring the tragic events in both Butte and Ventura counties closely and are working to assist members in identifying space for evacuees,” LeadingAge California Executive Vice President Eric Dowdy told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We encourage all senior living providers to work with their local [Office of Emergency Services] authorities, licensing agency(ies) and law enforcement and monitor calls for evacuation closely.”
LeadingAge California members can make donations via the organization’s website. Currently, log-in is required, although that may change, Dowdy said. Checks also may be sent to LeadingAge California at this address: 1315 I Street, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95814.
CALA President Sally Michael also told McKnight’s Senior Living of that organization’s efforts.
“The fires California is experiencing right now are impacting residents of senior living communities,” she said Friday. “We are aware of a number of communities being evacuated in the fire-affected areas. We also know that our members are focusing on providing for the immediate needs of residents and staff and ensuring their safety during this time of crisis. Through a live, shared document found on our website, CALA is supporting all senior living providers in fire-affected areas who need assistance locating available units to temporarily house displaced residents.”