Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Hospital reopens following dramatic evacuation in Tubbs Fire

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The images of doctors and nurses evacuating of Kaiser Permanente's Santa Rosa Hospital stick with people. Flames spread frighteningly close to the hospital grounds, illuminating the dark sky as patients were wheeled out in hospital beds. (KGO-TV)

The images of doctors and nurses evacuating of Kaiser Permanente's Santa Rosa Hospital stick with people. Flames spread frighteningly close to the hospital grounds, illuminating the dark sky as patients were wheeled out in hospital beds.

"Seeing all the people get evacuated out of here was traumatic," recalled John Fullmer.

The Tubbs fire filled the Santa Rosa hospital with smoke. Now, more than two weeks later after a thorough cleaning, it reopened.

VIDEO: Santa Rosa Kaiser evacuates as fire rages nearby

"They seemed very organized. They seemed like they almost hadn't been closed at all they were on top of it and welcoming. It was a good feeling," said Jack Rising, a Sonoma resident who travelled to the facility for his wife's appointment.

More than 200 Kaiser employees lost their homes, but many are happy to be back to work.

"Well it's great there are a lot of people who need care and there's a lot of staff who work here. I've got a friend who's a nurse and she's really pleased to be back at work," said Santa Rosa resident Patrick Brady.

BEFORE AND AFTER: North Bay neighborhoods devastated by wildfires

But, how long will temporary housing sustain doctors many of whom lost homes in the Fountaingrove neighborhood near the hospital?

"That's a very real fear. There comes a point when a long commute just isn't really viable anymore," noted Brady.

It's a concern for the administration of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. They are actively meeting with stakeholders to discuss rebuilding after 152 of their people lost homes. It'll be a long process - clean-up alone could go into 2018. They've placed 45 people in temporary housing of the 80 who asked for help. Others are staying with family or have found their own accommodations. So far, no one has left the hospital and many locals plan to stay.

"I wouldn't have figured it, but I'm more loyal than ever before," said Brady.

He hopes the county's medical professionals will be too as they face the challenges of providing care in the years to come.

Click here for full coverage on the North Bay fires.

Related Topics:
North Bay Fireswildfirekaiser permanentehospitaldoctorsnurseshousingSanta Rosa
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