California hospital survives a night amid wildfires

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Ojai (Calif.) Valley Community Hospital saw no damage to the interior or exterior of the building as largely untamed wildfires ripped through the city Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Several fires "skirted both sides of the community" along the northern and southern edges of Ojai's limits Wednesday night, the report states. Fire department officials expanded mandatory evacuation zones in the eastern part of town. While Ojai Valley Community Hospital did not need to evacuate patients, the hospital moved some nonambulatory patients to Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, Calif., as a precautionary measure. The Ojai emergency department and hospital continued operations as usual.

Officials said the fires raged on throughout the night and into Thursday morning. Slower wind speeds prevented the fires from blowing into the main part of the city, though a voluntary evacuation order was still in effect for the area Thursday morning, according to the report.

Rudy Livingston, finance director for the city of Ojai, told the Los Angeles Times "fire crews with bulldozers and fire engines … were able to reduce fuel, calm the flames [north of town] and keep them from coming downhill into town."

"It was truly a miracle that the predicted fierce winds failed to materialize — we were waiting for them, but they didn't come. All I can say is, 'Thank God.' If they had come, it would have been very ugly here," he added.

In total, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said six large wildfires have burned 141,000 acres of land across the state this week, forcing roughly 190,000 people out of their homes, according to CNN. At least 5,700 firefighters have been working to contain the flames.

While the Ojai Valley Community Hospital has remained unscathed, several other outpatient facilities belonging to Ventura, Calif.-based Community Memorial Health System — which owns Ojai Valley hospital — have been closed as a safety precaution.

Ventura-based Community Memorial Hospital is fully functional and accepting patients as of 3 p.m. Dec. 7, according to ongoing updates released by the health system.

Editor's note: This article was updated Dec. 9 at 2:46 p.m.

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