On October 31 in the Chicago suburbs, a fire at a residential mental health facility early in the morning forced the evacuation of about 400 residents to a village community center, officials said.
A mattress fire, probably caused by cigarette smoking, broke out about 1 a.m. on the sixth floor of the Lydia Healthcare Center, a long-term care center in the south suburb of Robbins, Illinois. The building had to be closed because the fire sprinkler system was activated and the building then had to be cleaned. Most of the damage to the building was caused by smoke and water.
Three residents and one employee were taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, but none of the injuries were life-threatening. A representative of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago said they were providing blankets and food for the displaced residents, and that they would be able to go back to the group home within a day or two.
This incident should be a lesson not only for those who live in group homes or nursing homes, but also for the families of people who live in such facilities.
Before a person is placed in a nursing home or group home, the family should make sure that:
–Fire exits are not blocked or locked –There are fire extinguishers in several spots on each floor –The sprinkler system on each floor is working and is also inspected regularly –The facility staff is trained in proper evacuation procedures for residents.
Each of these tips can help save residents from a fast-moving fire or smoke condition that could cause confusion among residents and and then trap them, exposing them to the possibility of severe burns and deadly smoke inhalation.
If you or someone you know does suffer a severe burn injury or a smoke inhalation injury, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a solid legal case.