Pensioner found alive five days after care home fire


A pensioner has been found alive and well in a care home – five days after a fire tore through the rest of the building.

The 74-year-old man was sitting in his apartment in the Washington DC complex and is expected to survive.

He was found by a team assessing the damage to the four-storey retirement block, which had been home to more than 100 elderly people.

Firefighters reported parts of the ceiling collapsing around them as they tried to rescue people
Image:
Firefighters reported parts of the ceiling collapsing around them as they tried to rescue people
Marines were drafted into help with the fire efforts
Image:
Marines were drafted into help with the fire efforts

Mayor Muriel Bowser said: “The resident was found by crews hired by the building owners to evaluate the safety of the structure.

“It appears that, based on the report that I got from the building workers, that he was sitting in his apartment.”

The man shouted when he heard investigators outside but was found sitting calmly inside after the door was prised open.

Firefighters found the fire in the attic of the home
Image:
Firefighters found the fire in the attic of the home
At the time, the fire fighters said everyone was accounted for. Pic: ABC
Image:
At the time, the fire fighters said everyone was accounted for. Pic: ABC

One rescuer said: “And he wanted to walk out, but we put him in a chair. For someone who has been in that situation for as long as he has, he seemed in incredibly good shape.”

Washington fire chief Gregory Dean said fire crews who checked the apartments for anyone left behind “may have missed the apartment” during the evacuation.

More than 100 senior citizens lived in the home
Image:
More than 100 elderly people lived in the home

The mayor has announced an investigation into the incident and said more searches of the building would take place.

She said he had been “accounted for” at the time of the evacuation.

The fire was reported last Wednesday afternoon and took resources from several fire stations to tackle.

Firefighters called this blaze a severe challenge
Image:
Firefighters described the blaze as a severe challenge
The fire raged through the attic in the care home. Pic: ABC
Image:
The fire raged through the attic in the care home. Pic: ABC

More than 100 marines also came from nearby barracks to assist in rescue attempts.

Many of the residents in the home were wheelchair or bedbound, and firefighters reported ceilings collapsing around them as they battled the blaze.

The rescue also involved neighbours and police officers
Image:
The rescue also involved neighbours and police officers
Firefighters from numerous companies fought the fire. Pic: ABC
Image:
Firefighters from numerous companies fought the fire. Pic: ABC

A statement from the fire department on 19 September said: “The rescue effort included at least one resident who had to be assisted down a portable ladder from the fourth floor by a lone firefighter.

“Eventually all residents were safely removed from the building, and the extent and severity of the blaze forced firefighters to evacuate and switch to a defensive exterior attack, using large diameter streams from aerial apparatus and other sources.

Several residents were rescued while the fire was raging
Image:
Several residents were rescued while the fire was raging

“Despite the potential for casualties, there were only 6 non life threatening EMS transports of civilians, and no firefighter injuries.”

The fire took several hours to tackle before it died down.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here