Oakmont of Santa Clarita was forced to evacuate during the 6,000-acre Rye Fire in December, and the senior living community’s staff and residents spent 12 days away due to extensive smoke damage in need of repairs.
A total of 94 seniors were safely evacuated on Dec. 5, 2017 while heavy smoke clouded the area and spot fires burned around the property as a result of the Rye Fire.
“Our executive director, Margie, just handled things so calmly and professionally, and I think because the staff was calm and just doing what we needed to do, the residents were calm,” said Mary Demkowski of Oakmont of Santa Clarita. “So we just methodically got everyone out.”
Through the use of city buses and staff members’ vehicles, Oakmont of Santa Clarita residents were first transported to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Newhall.
No residents became ill from smoke inhalation, and no one was injured during the evacuation, according to Dembkowski.
“We do have a few frail residents and (smoke inhalation) was a concern, but everyone fared well,” Dembkowski said.
After having lunch at the Senior Center, residents were either picked up by family members or transported to an Oakmont Senior Living Community in the Orange County city of Brea.
“We couldn’t go back,” Dembkowski explained. “We had a restoration crew in there — probably about 100 people — for days just scrubbing the building getting the smell out. We had to steam clean all the carpets and take out all the drapes and have them cleaned.”
After a total of 12 days, staff and residents were able to return home to Oakmont of Santa Clarita.
“Looking back, of course we’re grateful. It could have been a lot worse,” Dembkowski said. “I’m just so proud of the staff and everyone that pitched in and spent that time in Orange County tending to our residents until we could come back home. And we’re all back home and ready for the new year.”
Oakmont is a luxury senior living community in Santa Clarita located on seven acres of land on Newhall Ranch Road. Recently opened in January 2016, Oakmont of Santa Clarita is comprised of 80 pet-friendly apartment units, with both independent and assisted living options available. Residents can enjoy five star amenities like a salon & day spa, movie theater, fitness center, restaurant-style dining, gardens and walking paths, pet park, wellness center and more. A separate wing of the community, called Traditions Memory Care, is dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Oakmont of Santa Clarita
28650 Newhall Ranch Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355