Weathering a Storm of Fire
The Carr Fire, which began July 23 near Redding, is now the eighth largest wildfire in California history and among several fast moving firestorms demolishing homes, businesses and thousands of acres in Northern California and throughout the state. Our CCH property in Redding, Ca was among those affected. Tree House Senior Apartments Community Manager Kathern Sherwood shares her account.
Our CCH property in Redding was among those which received a mandatory evacuation order around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26. Residents and staff sprang to action when the Red Cross and family members could not reach the property because of street closures and the area being locked down.
“Everyone was amazing,” Kathern says. “I couldn’t be more proud of everyone’s concern for their neighbors and the great care taken by friends and staff to go above and beyond the call of duty in helping one another.”
Kathern explains everyone was very brave and helpful. Residents with cars filled them with other residents and either took them to the evacuation center or to their family or friends. Some residents took their neighbors to their own family homes to safety.
“As we were getting the last residents ready to leave, the authorities cut the power,” Kathern recalls. “As we left the property, we got in a long line of cars heading to the highway and it took almost two hours moving through dense smoke to get to Interstate 5.”
“I’m so thankful Tree House was spared the wrath of this devastating fire and we were allowed to return to our lovely apartments once again,” Kathern says. “The air was still thick with smoke and ash everywhere. We had face masks for everyone when the fire started.”
Upon returning, staff was in contact with Bethel Church, a distribution center for the Salvation Army and Red Cross. With the help of Social Service Coordinator Rosa Vasquez and a couple of the residents, Bethel provided more than 60 bags of food and supplies for our residents and their pets.
“We feel much loved” says Kathern. “Thank you to all who helped with this.”
Kathern expresses her special thanks to the following individuals for their extraordinary efforts:
• Janice Simon and Resident-on-Call Margie Boddy who worked wonderfully and took painstaking efforts to make sure residents were able to evacuate safely;
• Tony Caputo, a maintenance technician II, who weathered heavy smoke and checked on residents and property;
• Social Service Coordinator Rosa Vasquez who helped Kathern keep in touch with residents during the evacuation process and also with those who were in the hospital;
• Portfolio Manager Willie Smith, who was not allowed into the area but stayed in close phone contact with Kathern during the whole ordeal and served as their outside connection, calling ambulances and finding places for staff to stay; and finally
• Thanks to Willie and CCH management for supporting and taking such good care of the residents and staff.