nursing home fire!!

  1. I thought this couldn't happen any more:

    HARTFORD, Connecticut (CNN) -- At least 10 people were killed and eight injured early Wednesday in a fire at a Hartford nursing home's patient care center, a police official told CNN.

    Hartford Fire Chief Charles Teal said officials had someone in custody, but would not confirm whether arson was suspected.

    "I'm not at liberty to discuss cause and origin," Teal said. "We do have substantial leads."

    Sgt. John Schmaltz of the Hartford Police Department confirmed 10 people had died in the blaze.

    At least eight people were taken to area hospitals.

    Administrators at the 150-bed Greenwood Health Care Center were "taking a head count" less than an hour after the fire broke out about 3:30 a.m., according to Bob Majeski, the center supervisor.

    Majeski said the fire was contained to a 60-bed area, which he said served the elderly as well as younger rehabilitation patients.

    The on-duty nurse at Greenwood was also treated for minor injuries as a result of smoke inhalation and minor burns, incurred while she was helping evacuate patients, Majeski said.

    The fire was under control by the time Majeski arrived at 4 a.m. ET.

    *and from me, one last comment--

    "the on-duty nurse"????!!!!!*
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Feb 26, '03
  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    Local TV news:

    Fatal Fire In Hartford
    Associated Press

    February 26 2003, 6:16 AM EST

    HARTFORD, Conn. -- A fire tore through a Hartford nursing home early Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and sending 20 people to hospitals, authorities said. One person was arrested, and fire officials said the fire was considered suspicious.

    Matt Hennessy, an assistant to Mayor Eddie Perez, said 10 people were killed, and said nine of them had been identified. No names were immediately released.

    Fire Chief Charles Teale said one person had been arrested.

    "I'm not at liberty to discuss cause and origin at this time," he said. "We do have substantial leads regarding that matter. We do have someone in custody at this time."

    Police Capt. Mark Pawlina said arson investigators were on the scene.

    "We've got a full-court press in order to determine exactly what happened and how it happened," he said.

    Teale said 20 people were hospitalized, five of them in critical condition, and over 100 were evacuated.

    The fire was confined to one section of the one-story, brick Greenwood Health Center on the city's west side. Teal said the evacuation was extremely difficult because many of the victims were bedridden or confined to wheelchairs.

    "Upon my arrival, it became apparent that all hands would be needed," he said. "It's not just the fire that kills, it's the smoke."

    State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, said many of the residents were confused. She said one woman pleaded, "Please take me to my room. I'm cold."

    One elderly woman looking for her mother ran up the street sobbing, holding her temples and yelling in broken English.

    "Where is the fire, where is the fire?" she cried.

    As family members arrived at the building they were ushered by police into three Connecticut Transit buses that were brought into the building's parking lot. Temperatures Wednesday morning were in the single digits.

    Felix Pagan Jr., of Hartford, was looking for his 76-year-old father.

    "I haven't lost hope yet, I'm just thinking positive right now," he said. "As long as they tell me he's OK, I (will) go back to bed."

    Pagan works for a local ambulance company, which called him at 4 a.m. to tell him about the fire. He stood outside the nursing home, fidgeting with a pack of cigarettes.

    "I think I have smoked a whole pack," he said. "I left home with a full pack and now I have to go buy more cigarettes."

    St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center received eight patients, spokesman Pete Mobilia said. Three were in critical condition, one was in serious condition, one was in fair condition and one was being evaluated. Two others - both of them employees of the home - were being treated and released, Mobilia said.

    One patient was transported by helicopter to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital, spokesman John Cappiello said.

    Hartford Hospital received eight patients, spokeswoman Lee Monroe said. Two of them were being transferred to burn centers elsewhere in the state, she said.

    Of the remaining patients, three were in critical condition; the conditions of the three others were not immediately available.

    A spokesman for Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., said the hospital expected to receive one victim. Keith O'Connor said the patient was suffering from severe smoke inhalation and would be treated in the hospital's hyperbaric chamber.

    The first alarm was at 2:35 a.m. and followed by a second alarm at 2:40 a.m. The cause was not immediately determined.

    Chris Cooper, a spokesman for Gov. John G. Rowland, said the state fire marshal and Department of Public Health were responding.

    "The critical issue now is to make sure of the safety of the other patients," Cooper said.
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press
  4. by   oramar
    My worst nightmare was a situation like this. I only worked LTC for a short time and it was obvious that even under the best of circumstances it would be difficult to get the residents out. In a lot of facilities the circumstances as far as staffing and fire safety leave a lot to be desired especially on the off shifts.
  5. by   nursegoodguy
    Experience a small fire... not fun!
    Last edit by nursegoodguy on Mar 11, '03
  6. by   Sleepyeyes
    oh gawd, guiseppe! that musta been awful!

    what always worried me was a fire on night shift--too little staff to get the people out fast enough. in this instance, the arsonist had to know that.
    hope the nursing staff sues.
  7. by   dawngloves
    I've had two experiences with fire, both caused by smoking and I suspect this tragic nursing home fire was too.
    First was in school during my geriatric rotation, wasn't there but right before we arrived a pt set himself on fire when he fell asleep smoking.
    Second was a pt smoking in the bathroom and left the butt in the trash can.. you guessed it! Destroyed the whole room Had to evacuate half the hospital, ICU below had water damage, whole unit had smoke damage.
  8. by   deespoohbear
    I agree with Ormar...this would be one of my worst nightmares come true.....

    What is it the past few weeks with all these fatal fires? The nightclubs in Chicago and Rhode Island and now this nursing home fire... Probably will be whole slew of new regs come down in regards to fire safety...(not to mention our lovely fiends (uh, friends ) at JCAHO......
  9. by   oramar
    Godbless the nurses that were injured getting patients out. If they were police or firefighters they would get medals.
  10. by   deespoohbear
    Originally posted by oramar
    Godbless the nurses that were injured getting patients out. If they were police or firefighters they would get medals.

    Yeah, the nurses and other staff that assisted probably won't be credited at all.....
  11. by   Sleepyeyes
    the article only mentions ONE nurse. I do hope that she wasn't the ONLY nurse in the building.
  12. by   Sleepyeyes

    The nursing home had 148 patients, and about 100 of them had to be evacuated, he said.

    "Upon my arrival, it became apparent that all hands would be needed," he said. "It's not just the fire that kills, it's the smoke."

    Teale singled out for praise a nursing supervisor, Marion C. Schumacher, who suffered smoke inhalation while trying to ensure patients' safety.

    "She refused to leave the area till she knew the patients were properly cared for," Teale said. "I want to extend my appreciation."
  13. by   oramar
    PS I am sure all the staff assisted in getting the patients out, Godbless them to.
  14. by   emily_mom
    Yeah, the news seems to be focusing on this one nurse that "risked her own life" to save others. No mention of the other staff....