Fire forces nursing home relocations

Fire forces nursing home relocations
Rubin Jordan, AFD
Rubin Jordan, AFD

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dozens of residents are in other temporary homes tonight as cleanup continues following a morning fire. Parts of two wings need repairs.

Dougherty County EMS brought in extra crews to transport dozens of patients from Pruitt Health on Palmyra Road.

EMS agencies from other counties and private transportation companies also helped. No one was hurt in the fire, but nine residents were transported to the hospital immediately for care. Throughout the day residents have been leaving by ambulance, bus, or in private cars.

Dougherty County Emergency Medical officials say no one was burned or suffered smoke inhalation problems during this morning's fire at PruittHealth, but they are concerned by the patient's stress.

Dougherty Co. EMS Director Greg Rowe said "If you are bed bound, fire alarm goes off, sprinkler system comes on, and there is smoke filling up the building. You can't move. You are stuck in that bed."

Firefighters say an electrical problem in a bathroom vent fan in a patient room sparked the blaze, that forced the evacuation of residents.

AFD Assistant Chief Rubin Jordan said, "We moved something in the area of 130 something patients, and they were real quick."

Most of the residents were taken into the parking lot while the fire was put out. Then when the dining room and two wings were OK'd, most residents were moved back inside. Nine were transported to the hospital. Firefighters and EMS officials praised the emergency response, that first responders train for.

"They go over these things every month, so we are very rehearsed for this type situation. And we put this plan into action today. It worked real good," Jordan said.

Cleaning companies were on site this afternoon as residents were being moved out. Extra ambulance and transportation companies were called in to help relocate 56 residents. Dougherty County EMS handled 25.

"These 25 that have got to go are not going to a hospital. They are going to another facility to live basically until they can get this back open," Rowe said.

Both Fire and EMS officials praised the nursing home staff, saying they worked calmly and professionally to make sure the evacuation was successful.

Firefighters say wing one and part of wing must be cleaned and inspected before patients can return. PruittHealth sent us a statement saying they will make sure the patients get the healthcare they need.

Pruitt Issued this statement-

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 smoke was reported at PruittHealth –Palmyra, indicating a fire.

All employees acted swiftly and engaged local police and fire departments to evacuate one wing of the building and a small portion of a second wing.

The safety and well-being of our patients is our number one priority. We are continuing to work in full cooperation with the authorities to investigate the matter. Additionally, PruittHealth Chaplains are on site providing any needed spiritual support to our partners, patients, and families affected by the incident.

At this time, all patients are accounted for and safe. Fifty-six patients have been transferred safely to other locations, while cleaning crews promptly restore the site. We are pleased at the level of professionalism and competency demonstrated by partners and first responders. The health and safety of our patients remains our central focus. We will continue to partner with families, employees, and community leadership to ascertain that patients are provided with ongoing high-quality care.

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