Employees Laid Off as Paradise Hospital Rebuilds

California Connection
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PARADISE -- Crews were carting out old equipment from Feather River Hospital in Paradise Wednesday.

It was no longer being used in the hospital's smoke-damaged halls.

"I was carrying my coffee outside, embers flying into my cup of coffee. I was like, 'Oh, that’s not good,'" said nurse Bev Roberson.

As flames from the Camp Fire raged toward Feather River Hospital, employees worked to evacuate patients and get them into personal vehicles.

"The goal was the same, we need to get everybody out. And we did. I couldn’t be more proud," said nurse Edwin Beltran.

Everyone who evacuated the hospital made it out OK. But the building itself sustained extensive smoke damage. Some wings were burned to the ground.

"So, we are in the process of really, fully assessing and determining what our next steps are," said Jill Kinney, administrative director of marketing and communications for Adventist Health.  "But our intent is to reopen services in the Paradise area."

The hospital says reopening will take at least a year. So, in the meantime, it had to lay off 1,200 employees.

"It’s hard to hear something like that," Beltran told FOX40. "I mean, you understand it from a business perspective that you can't maintain something that can't generate the revenue to pay the bills. So it makes sense."

But Adventist Health says it’s committed to helping former employees find new jobs at different locations in the company, like at the Feather River Health Center, a smaller clinic that survived the Camp Fire.

"I’m grateful to be here to continue to serve the communities and live out of the mission and make a difference of it. The Ridge is going to need it," Roberson said.

The hospital was the largest employer in Paradise. Adventist Health has already been able to find jobs for roughly 400 of the employees who were laid off at other offices in surrounding areas.

Roberson says she is thankful to have a job for the time being, but if the hospital does reopen as planned she wants to return.

"I will be there, without a doubt."

Adventist Health says they are working diligently to reopen the hospital.


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