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Rehab center survives Carpenter 1 fire, continues to provide help | News

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Rehab center survives Carpenter 1 fire, continues to provide help

Mt. Charleston, Nev. -- A substance abuse treatment center was threatened by the Carpenter 1 wildfire. It even had to be evacuated.

Now, the place has bounced back after the disaster to continue helping those in need.

The Harris Springs Ranch is an all-male inpatient substance abuse treatment facility with 56 beds, which is usually full.

The Carpenter 1 wildfire came close to destroying the place.

“We were able to watch smoke, and watch the orange sky, for a couple of days,” deputy director Leo Magrdichian said. “Finally, we got the call, we need to evacuate.”

On July 4, 2013, the serenity of the ranch was disrupted.

“Yes, there was some crisis and some anxiety, most every individual was able to manage it because we did it as a team and we did it as a group,” Magrdichian said.

Men and boys in recovery, fighting abuse and addiction from drugs and alcohol had to flee the wildfire.

“Ever seen the Black Forest, I think from ‘Snow White’ that's exactly what it looked like,” Magrdichian said.

Westcare runs the secluded rehabilitation center. The men, boys, and staff were relocated to other Westcare facilities.

Firefighters protected the place helped by state prison inmates, one of whom had gone through the ranch’s program before being sent to prison.

“Told the rest of them that we're going to save this place because if I would have listened and would have got it when I did, I wouldn't be where I am now,” Magrdichian said.

Magrdichian says there is somewhat of a ring around the ranch where the fire burned.

“There are burnt trees all the way up to this propane tank right here,” Magrdichian said. “This is how close it got to our backdoor.”

The ranch survived with minimal damage while the Carpenter 1 wildfire destroyed nearly 30,000 acres of forest on Mt. Charleston.

“I also think that no matter what there's always this protective umbrella over a place like this, an agency that does these kinds of services to help people,” Magrdichian said.

Employees at the Harris Springs Ranch did not just want to keep the facility open for the current clients, but also because of the ranch’s history.

It was the first Westcare facility dedicated to substance abuse. It opened in 1973 as a place to help men hooked on heroine. Now, Westcare has facilities nationwide.