Kaiser Permanente leaders describe the harrowing experience of evacuating the Santa Rosa, Calif., hospital during fires in the fall.
Weil: I was working that evening, Oct. 9, in the emergency department and around 1 a.m., I heard some of the radio chatter from the paramedics and realized that there was a structure fire probably within 3 or 4 miles of my house. So I called my wife to say there's some weird stuff happening out there.
About 15 minutes later, I got a call from one of my neighbors who didn't realize I was at work and he said, “You need to get out.” I knew exactly what he was talking about. I called Claire, my wife, and my 15-year-old daughter answered the phone. They were in the car and she was just screaming as she, my wife and our dogs were trying to drive off of our property and down the hill through a wall of flames on both sides of the street, burning branches falling in front of them, transformers exploding. It seemed like an eternity, but it was about 30 to 60 seconds until they were able to get out of it. I told them to come to the hospital so I knew that they were OK.