82 nurs­ing home residents res­cued

First re­spon­ders used ‘a lot of cre­ativ­ity’ to evac­u­ate fa­cil­ity dur­ing 3-alarm fire

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Pamela Lehman

Just be­fore 3 a.m. Sun­day, fire crews ar­rived at an Up­per Macungie Town­ship se­nior fa­cil­ity where a wall of flames raced up a rear wall and more than 80 residents slept peace­fully in­side.

The call is one that emer­gency re­spon­ders of­ten dread — a three-alarm fire at a fa­cil­ity where older peo­ple suf­fer­ing from med­i­cal is­sues who may not be able to hear a smoke alarm and quickly es­cape.

“These are older, non­am­bu­la­tory peo­ple who, as you can imag­ine, don’t move all that quickly,” Up­per Macungie po­lice Chief Edgardo Colon said of the Heather Glen Se­nior Liv­ing fa­cil­ity at 415 Blue Barn Road. “There was a lot of cre­ativ­ity hap­pen­ing to help get ev­ery­one out.”

Fire of­fi­cials, po­lice and EMS worked to­gether to help evac­u­ate 82 residents, as well as five staff mem­bers. Fo­gelsville fire Chief Jacque R. Creamer Jr. said the cause re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Crews ar­rived to find large flames pour­ing through the rear of the build­ing.

Colon said it was a chaotic scene as they raced to wake

residents and help move them out of the smoke-filled build­ing.

He said one res­i­dent was sit­ting in a chair and two of­fi­cers grabbed ei­ther side of the chair, mov­ing the per­son into the park­ing lot.

“It was quite dra­matic and I can’t say enough about the co­op­er­a­tion and ded­i­ca­tion of all the fire, po­lice and emer­gency crews who helped,” Colon said.

The fire ap­peared to have started out­side the build­ing and spread to the roof, fire of­fi­cials said.

All residents and staff mem­bers were taken to an off-site lo­ca­tion for fur­ther eval­u­a­tion, re­uni­fi­ca­tion with fam­ily or trans­fer to an­other fa­cil­ity.

Fire crews were able to stop the flames from spread­ing to the liv­ing quar­ters, but there was heavy smoke dam­age to one part of the build­ing. A sec­tion of the roof had to be re­moved and ceil­ings pulled down to put out the fire.

Some of the dis­placed residents were sent to the Trexler­town fire com­pany and a fa­cil­ity in Em­maus, po­lice said. Colon said about six residents were taken to area hos­pi­tals as a pre­cau­tion.

A spokesper­son with Heather Glen Se­nior Liv­ing could not be reached for com­ment Sun­day. Fire of­fi­cials said residents will be dis­placed un­til dam­age is re­paired.

Au­thor­i­ties said two fire­fight­ers suf­fered mi­nor in­juries, but were re­leased from the hos­pi­tal by Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The fire re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Up­per Macungie Bureau of Fire and Up­per Macungie po­lice.

In the com­ing days, Creamer said, dona­tions may be needed for some of the residents.

“As you can imag­ine, we’re go­ing to have some peo­ple telling us that Dad fled with­out his den­tures or Mom is miss­ing her shoes,” he said.

Of­fi­cials hailed the ef­forts of first re­spon­ders who helped pre­vent se­ri­ous in­juries or fa­tal­i­ties.

“At the end of the day, ev­ery­one went home,” ac­cord­ing to the Face­book post from Fo­gelsville fire of­fi­cials.


Au­thor­i­ties say two fire­fight­ers were in­jured in a fire Sun­day at Heather Glen Se­nior Liv­ing in Up­per Macungie Town­ship.

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