Apr. 8—Emergency personnel responded to Life Care Center on Justice Street Tuesday afternoon with a report of a fire and smoke in the building.
"You don't want to get that call," Crossville Fire Chief Chris South said. "But because of training and planning, everyone was prepared, and the situation was quickly mitigated."
Facility staff were evacuating residents as firefighters arrived and quickly extinguished the small fire that had started in a small warming kitchen just off a nurses station. South said a motor in the refrigerator had malfunctioned and caught the refrigerator and wall on fire.
"The room was sprinkled and one activated and kept the fire in check until we arrived," South said.
Smoke had spread through three wings in the facility, including the memory care unit. Those residents were evacuated and evaluated by emergency medical services staff and Dr. Mark Fox, medical director.
Three residents were taken to Cumberland Medical Center for evaluation for minor smoke inhalation. South said two staff members were treated on the scene.
"EMS sent multiple units to assist," South said.
He also thanked the Crossville-Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency for their assistance and the Crossville Police Department, which set up a perimeter around the facility to help control traffic and protect residents.
"When it's a nursing home and a critical infrastructure facility, there is the potential for a large number of casualties," South explained. "We had a large presence of responders on hand.
"We prepped and prepared and planned for this, and you're just pleased when the plan goes the way it should," he said.
He offered "kudos" to the facility's administration and staff, who worked quickly to protect the residents.
"The staff was in overdrive and moving people when we arrived," he said.
Approximately 28 residents were sheltered at the site while affected wings were cleared of smoke and cleaned.
Three residents in a small wing were sheltered off-site overnight.