One Week Later, Evacuated Assisted Care Facility Owner Wonders How Much Longer

Sep 20, 2018, 10:42 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2018, 12:40 am

PAYSON, Utah – Of all the weeks Chris Hermansen has worked in his life, this past one just might be his toughest yet.

He’s the owner of the Elk Ridge Assisted Living facility in Utah County.

Pole Creek Fire

For the past week, his facility and 26 of the elderly people staying in his facility have been evacuated thanks to the Pole Creek Fire still burning out of control.

“We don’t even know when we’re going back,” said Hermansen. “If we had an end date, it would be a whole lot nicer to know.”

When we first talked to Hermansen last week, he was thinking they would only have to stay at the Payson Quality Inn for a few days. However, the days kept passing by.

Chris Hermansen

“At the last meeting we went to, they said it could be up to two weeks, which, as soon as I heard that, it was like ‘whoa,’” said Hermansen.

He says his insurance will only pay so much. The rest is up to him.

“I was doing some of the math,” he said. “It averages close to $2,000 a day.”

Hermansen helping residents

For now, though, he says he’s not worried about finances of it all. He’s more worried about making sure everyone is safe, fed, and entertained. Many people in the community have been helping by donating dinners, doing sing-alongs, and even putting notes on their doors to keep spirits up.

“Have a great day. Things will be OK,” said Hermansen, as he read some of the notes.

Notes on doors

Dining room

Residents say, so far, things have been manageable.

Hermansen has even brought on extra staff members to constantly do room checks.

“We’re here every 30 minutes. Minimum,” said Hermansen. “We have to make sure no one has fallen or fallen out of their beds and they’re not having an emergency. We don’t have our call system here like we do in our facility.”

MORE: Assisted Living Facility Evacuated In Utah County Due To Wildfire

Staff members with residents

The hotel manager has been able to get all the residents in one wing of the hotel.

Hermansen has also been visiting the facility every day to get medicine, personal items, and whatever else is needed to make sure they get through.

“I know this might sound like a fishy answer, but how long can I do this is however long it takes,” said Hermansen. “I care about these people like I do my own family.”


Chris Hermansen talking to residents Helicopter fighting the Pole Creek Fire Notes on doors Hermansen helping residents Dining room Pole Creek Fire Chris Hermansen Staff members with residents
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One Week Later, Evacuated Assisted Care Facility Owner Wonders How Much Longer