The Marshall wildfire came within feet of Avista Adventist Hospital. Though the flames spared the Louisville facility the hospital did take on smoke, soot and other debris. From safely evacuating patients and staff, to meticulously cleaning the building and every item within, the resilience and dedication of our Avista caregivers has been inspiring.
On the day the fire began, Natalie Ingmire, Avista’s Director of Quality and Facilities, quickly launched Avista’s incident command and began the evacuation process.
“It’s our job to protect everybody and keep everybody safe," Natalie said of the team’s quick response to the fire in an interview with 9News.
In just two hours Avista evacuated 51 patients and around 100 associates. Patients were transported by ambulances to St. Anthony and Longmont, where caregivers were prepared to welcome them.
"We started with our NICU babies, the neonatal intensive care unit," Isaac Sendros, CEO, explained of the evacuation process. "Followed by our OB, newborns and ICU patients. Med/Surg was next, and so were our emergency department patients."
Though Avista was spared by the wildfire it took on a lot of smoke, soot and other debris. Clean up of the facility began as soon as it was safe to do so. Maintenance crews continue to fill the hospital completing a deep clean of the building and repairs. Two hundred air scrubbers are continuously filtering the air to clean out particulates of smoke and ash that may have gotten in the hospital. Hospital beds and equipment were emptied out of all rooms and everything, including the equipment, is undergoing a proper cleaning. Crews even replaced the ceiling tiles in the Emergency Department, due to concerns that the ceiling may have taken in smoke and ash.
"There's parts of me where I'm beyond proud of this team and what they accomplished,” Isaac said. “There's another part of me where my heart breaks for our associates who've lost their homes and for the community that we serve. I feel fortunate that we're still here and we're standing, and that we get to continue to serve this community.”
"Our caregivers have sacrificed over the last few years, putting themselves at risk to care for others. Our caregivers’ response to the Marshall fire was another example of health care workers putting others first and themselves second," Isaac added.
Avista looks forward to reopening its doors to the community in the coming weeks and continuing its 31-year legacy of delivering compassionate, whole person care.
"We can't wait to reopen so we can continue to serve those who are who are needing healing," Isaac said.