'Like a war zone': Firefighters intensify efforts to protect St. Helena Hospital

ST. HELENA, Calif. (KGO) -- In Napa County's Deer Park neighborhood firefighters are working to keep the Glass Fire flames from getting closer to homes and the St. Helena hospital. At 8 a.m. on Sunday, 55 patients were evacuated and transported to other Bay Area hospitals.

It was a wake up call that no one expected. Flames inched up to the St. Helena hospital and the surrounding homes early Sunday morning.

Firefighters from Contra Costa County and San Ramon Valley drove ambulances to the facility to help get patients out.

RELATED: Glass Fire grows to 2,500 acres, mandatory evacuations underway in North Bay

The medical center said it moved patients out of an abundance of caution because of the Glass Fire, which was growing at a dangerous rate.

"The last one was eight miles away and now with this one we are in eminent danger," said Linda Williams, spokesperson for the St. Helena Hospital

Emergency contacts will be notified about their loved ones' new hospital location and the hospital is working on setting up a phone line for patients' families to get information.

The facility is also temporarily suspending emergency and hospital care. Medical center workers were seen packing up COVID-19 supplies and equipment to take with them during the evacuation.

LIST: Wildfires in North Bay prompt evacuation orders & warnings in Napa, Sonoma counties

A skeleton crew stayed back to wet the roof and make last minute arrangements.

"They were cleaning all the air filters and placing scrubbers throughout the hospital to keep our air safe. Keeping everything functioning properly," described Williams.

This hospital is not only a source of aid for the Deer Park community but today it became a source of reference of the aggressive blaze.

"It's a scary thought I've never seen the hospital evacuated until a month ago," said Deer Park resident, AJ Tagee.

A mile from the hospital AJ showed us around his family's property he's lived here his entire life. On Sunday he decided to stay back to protect it.

RELATED: Red Flag Warning issued through Monday amid Bay Area heat wave

"We are getting everything watered down. We have our pool here that we are set up to get water from just in case the water gets shut off. We have about 13,000 gallons here," said Tagee.

Firefighters drove up the Deer Park hill to alert more families to evacuate. Among them are the Navone family. They've lived in the same home for more than 16 years. Carlo Navone looked at it and described it to us "It's just home. That's the word, its home. It's comfortable its peaceful. It's full of the people I love and experiences that I've had since I was a kid."

When we met them they were packing their cars to leave.

"How nerve-racking is to hear those helicopters fly over your home? It's honestly like a war zone," said Navone.

On the frontline of this war zone more 20 fire engines working on protecting these homes, these memories and this hospital.

RELATED: Red Flag Warning issued through Monday amid Bay Area heat wave

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