By Melissa Etehad, Los Angeles Times

Mary Kowalski wasn’t bothered when she was told by the nursing home staff to pack all her belongings and get ready to evacuate. It was at 5 a.m. Wednesday, and ash-filled smoke from the multimillion-dollar homes burning in the Skirball fire was all around. She got ready to leave.

Kowalski, 87, is among the nearly 100 retired nuns who live at the Carondelet Center in Brentwood — a nursing home for the Sisters of St. Joseph, a congregation of Catholic nuns.

The nursing home sits atop a hill and is surrounded by thick brush on all sides. It is also not far from the Sepulveda Pass. Firefighters Thursday worried that if winds picked up, the flames from the Skirball fire — which had already destroyed six homes and damaged 12 more — could jump the 405 Freeway and race west.

That would put the nursing home right in its path.

With wind gusts picking up and air quality already compromised, the nursing home staff didn’t want to take the risk of staying. Everyone was evacuated by 7 a.m. Wednesday.

But now the nuns, many of whom are in their late 80s or older, suddenly needed places to stay.

The staff had an idea: Why not have them stay with us?

“We don’t want to take the risk and put them through this again if we’re asked to evacuate again,” said Sister Anne McMullen, an administrator at the nursing home.

“So this was the safest and most comfortable option we could think of.”

Maintenance workers, nurses, administrators and drivers offered up their homes.

Read the full article at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-skirball-nuns-20171208-story.html 

December 11th, 2017