Oakmont of Santa Clarita hosted a discussion Friday where residents and members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department were able to share their experience during the December 2017 Rye Fire.

Fire officials discussed the strategies and tactics they used to save Oakmont of Santa Clarita’s property and other structures around the community. “Power lines apparently started the fire,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Assistant Anderson Mackey. “It was a windy day with red flag weather, so there was pretty extreme fire weather at that time.”

Oakmont of Santa Clarita was evacuated during the 6,000-acre Rye Fire in Saugus, where residents and staff were forced to spend a total of 12 days away from the senior living community while restoration crews worked to repair extensive smoke damage.
“It went very smoothly by the management,” said Don Skinner, a resident at Oakmont of Santa Clarita. “They really did a great job, it was like they were having a trial run, but it wasn’t a trial — it was the true thing.”

Staff and volunteers from the community worked to safely evacuate 94 seniors while spot fires burned around the property and heavy smoke clouded the area. No one was injured during the evacuation, and staff and volunteers managed to work quickly enough to avoid any of the residents becoming ill from smoke inhalation. “We are forever grateful for your service and dedication to our community, and we truly mean that,” said Margie Veis, senior executive director of Oakmont of Santa Clarita.