Personnel from numerous fire agencies, law enforcement agencies, emergency personnel from the Lassen County Public Health (LCPH), the Lassen County Office of Emergency Services, Banner Lassen Medical Center (BLMC), the Lassen County Fair, Lassen Community College, Lassen Rural Bus, Walgreens, Susanville Pizza Factory, Jim Willis Construction and family members who served as volunteers all worked together to protect the elderly residents.
During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Lassen County District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman noted the smoke from fire had an “unusual flavor.”
Dave Junette, OES director, told the supervisors bark coated with creosote that was burning in the old millpond may have contributed to the unusual smell.
As the firefighters battled the blaze, the smoke drifted across Riverside Drive, the Susan River and into CVR, prompting officials to consider an evacuation. The fire eventually jumped both Riverside Drive and the river, burning areas only a few hundred feet from the facility.
About 3:15 p.m. CVR reported smoke was entering the building and the county’s emergency preparedness program was put to the test.
Potential evacuation sites included Jensen Hall at the Lassen County Fairgrounds and Lassen Community College. Without much notice and despite a number of fair exhibits at Jensen Hall, both locations were available.
Lassen Rural Bus was ready and willing to transport the elderly if needed and, with assistance from the Lassen County Sheriff’s Department, LCPH transported its 25-bed alternate care site trailer to Jensen Hall if needed.
About 4:15 p.m. the unhealthy conditions forced the evacuation of CVR. Eight patients on oxygen were transported to BLMC. One resident received care from family members, 71 residents transported to the Jensen Hall Government Authorized Alternate Care Site and in less than an hour residents were moved.
Residents received meals, medications, medical assistance and psychological aid.
Walgreen’s donated water for all residents and staff, and the Pizza Factory donated dinner for all shelter staff and volunteers.
About 6:30 p.m. it was all over and the CVR facility was ready for the patients to return. All the residents were back by 8:30 p.m. and the entire system was packed up and put away by 10:30 p.m.
It’s encouraging to know all these various agencies and individuals can come together in a time of crisis and provide such outstanding service to a vulnerable group of residents.
We commend everyone involved with this effort on a job well done. You responded in a desperate time and proved the system you created to deal with such emergencies was up to the task at hand.
Please accept our thanks and congratulations. When we work together, we can make a real difference.
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