Residents of Wymore assisted living center safe, after early morning fire
BEATRICE – A fire in a clothes dryer at a Wymore assisted living center prompted the evacuation of the home’s residents early Friday, but everyone is safe.
The fire broke out at the Hope-Wymore Assisted Living Center, setting off the home’s sprinkler system and creating smoke throughout the building. Wymore Fire Chief Mark Meints said residents were moved across the street to the Wymore Volunteer Fire Department’s headquarters.
"Wymore Fire and Blue Springs Fire responded. We found a lot of smoke in the building. The building was being evacuated as per their plan. Our department assisted their staff in evacuating, to move people over to our Wymore Fire Department for temporary shelter. The temperatures are just as dangerous as the smoke inside the building."
The outside temperature was around 4-degrees above zero at the time of the fire. Meints says a search of the building showed everyone had been evacuated from the structure.
"We have a lot of smoke damage, a lot of water damage because the sprinkler system did it's job and did activate. The fire alarm activated. The staff was already doing their job and properly evacuated the building...and called extra staff in."
Hope-Wymore Administrator Pam Spier-Edmond said the home’s residents are safe. They were checked over for any ill-effects from the smoke. Fifty-eight people reside at the center. "Everything went really well. We had really good response from our local fire department. We followed through, our city responded right away....the community came in to help us."
Meints says a Nebraska Fire Marshall investigator was summoned to examine the cause of the fire. Edmond said the community helped by having residents shelter at the fire department and opening the community center.
Wymore and Blue Springs Fire and Rescue responded, and two ambulance units from Beatrice Fire and Rescue were also sent for mutual aid.
"We're very fortunate the fire hall is right across the street from this facility. And, we do practice this. For years, even when this was still the Good Samaritan Home, that's been our plan. We didn't have to use it until today....and it's good to see that the plan worked."
The fire damage was contained to the dryer and area surrounding it. But, Meints said the fire created significant smoke throughout the building.
"You have smoke doors that go closed, but we had to open some of those doors to do the evacuation and to do a search. The first thing we did before we made sure the fire was out...because the sprinkler system is going to take care of your fire...it was contained in one room, so we leave those doors closed. We don't want to feed the fire with oxygen. We want to make sure everyone is out, and safe."
The sprinkler system, Meints said, doused the flames…and the assisted living center was doing cleanup of the interior Friday, with water throughout the hallways. No one had to be hospitalized. Meints said the initial smoke made it hard to see down the hallways and toward a cafeteria of the center.
There were no injuries.