Nursing home fire causes damage, but no injuries - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Nursing home fire causes damage, but no injuries

December 27, 2004

Albany - A fire caused thousands of dollars in damage at an Albany nursing home, but none of the patients or the staff was hurt. The fire started in a bathroom after an electrical short in an exhaust fan at Palmyra Nursing Home. As the flames spread through the ceiling, smoke filled patients' rooms. The staff called the fire department and started evacuating rooms.

Repairing charred beams and cleaning up ash-covered floors will take weeks for the staff at Palmyra Nursing home. "We believe the fire started right here in this exhaust fan that continuously runs in the building," said Administrator Davis King.

Davis King said the fire spread into the ceiling insulation and smoke filled patients room, setting off the fire alarm. "On all three shifts, we have fire drills." Fire drills that taught the nursing home staff what to do next. "It takes two people to move a patient. We move the patients behind the fire doors to another safe area away from the smoke."

Sixteen patients were moved. Fire doors stopped the flames and smoke from spreading. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and hauled out burned insulation. "We pull all the ceiling out to make sure there was no other fire in the building," said Davis.

By morning, contractors had already assessed the damage which was about $10,000. Visitors, like Ray Bowman, were surprised to hear about the fire. The Albany minister visits church members at the nursing home each month. "I always ask them if they have a news for me," said Bowman. Now, he knows what that news will be today. "They'll be telling me about it and asking me why I didn't know about it," he said with a smile.

A patient's pet fish was glad to be surrounded by water, and patients were glad be surrounded by a staff that knew how to keep them safe. The displaced patients are staying in other rooms, and some may be transferred to nearby nursing homes until their rooms are repaired. Those repairs could take up to a month.

Posted at 3:38PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

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