Residents from two Castlegar long-term care homes have been relocated due to the Merry Creek Wildfire.
This comes after Castleview Care Centre residents spent a difficult night sleeping on mats on the floor at the Castlegar and District Community Complex July 1.
While the ordeal was trying, it was made better by community spirit.
The community rallied by providing food and supplies as well as fans, extension cords and power bars to beat the heat. Stutters Disaster Cleaning and Valet Restoration also brought in big air movers.
“With everyone’s help we got the temperature down enough to be comfortable for the residents to sleep,” said City Councillor Cherryl Macleod who helped with the effort. “Our hearts are so full to know that we live in such an amazing and caring community.”
Staff from both care homes are being praised for their hard work and dedication throughout the evacuation and relocation process.
According to an Interior Health statement Friday evening, sixty residents from Talarico Place and 54 residents from Castleview Care Centre have been relocated temporarily to alternate care homes within the Kootenay Boundary.
However, family members of Castleview Care Centre residents say that their loved ones were not sent to care homes, but rather shuffled to a church in Trail where they spent Friday night on emergency cots.
IH has now confirmed that most of the Castleview residents were sent to the church, but a few were sent to other care homes or acute care.
Frustration is rising as relatives and care givers don’t understand why the residents had to be moved a second time, resulting in more hardships for the vulnerable residents.
Castlegar Mayor Kirk Duff has confirmed that the city offered the continued use of the Castlegar Complex for the evacuees.
However, Interior Health made the decision to move them again due to its vicinity to the fire.
“The complex was not the appropriate location to provide ongoing care and was too close the fire,” explained IH communications manager Karl Hardt in a Saturday email to Castlegar News.
“Generally, we look at anything within 20 km radius from the fire when it comes to long-term care, because of how quickly wildfires can change and how challenging it is to evacuate individuals with complex care needs.”
Mayor Duff praised Castleview staff for the timely and efficient initial evacuation and said he has great sympathy for the residents and their families during this trying time.
IH says in light of the removal of all evacuation orders and alerts Saturday related to the Merry Creek fire they will be issuing an update about the situation on Sunday.
Talarico Place is owned and operated by Interior Health, while Castleview Care Centre is owned and operated by Chantelle Management Ltd.