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Residents of Elk Ridge Assisted Living Center are temporarily staying at a hotel
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Assisted living center residents under evacuation

ELK RIDGE — Residents of an assisted living center in the path of the Pole Creek fire have been temporarily forced to move to a Payson hotel, authorities say.

The owner of the Elk Ridge Assisted Living Facility, Chris Hermansen, says 26 residents were relocated at great expense.

“I was doing some of the math,” he says. “It averages close to two thousand dollars a day.”

Hermansen says the center’s insurance only covers part of that cost, but he credits people in the community for stepping up to help by donating dinners, leading sing-a-longs and leaving inspiring notes on residents’ hotel room doors to keep their spirits up.

Hermansen says it’s unclear when the residents will be allowed to go back to their facility in Elk Ridge.

“The last meeting that we went to said it could be up to two weeks,” he said. They’ve already been in Payson for more than one week.

Hermansen says he has been allowed to go back to the center every day to pick up medicine and other supplies. He also says he’ll keep doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of his residents – including bringing on extra people while they are staying at the hotel.