By Michael R. Moser
Quick reaction by staff and visitors and Crossville emergency personnel prevented an accidental fire from becoming a disaster at a local nursing home and rehabilitation center Friday afternoon.
Twenty-two people — 13 nursing home residents, two firefighters and seven staff members — were taken by ambulances to Cumberland Medical Center, where all but two were treated and released. The two firefighters suffered from heat and smoke inhalation but were among those released the same day, according to Crossville Fire Chief Mike Turner.
Off-duty hospital personnel were recalled to CMC to assist with the large number of patients transported to the emergency room.
No one was in the room at WyndRidge Health and Rehabilitation Center off Wayne Ave. in the 4 p.m. incident Friday, and no one was injured by the actual fire.
Turner was quoted as stating that a nurse saw smoke coming from an unoccupied room and pulled a fire alarm. Staff immediately began evacuating a rear wing at the facility and were quickly joined by Crossville Police and Fire Department personnel as well as county ambulance staff members.
The fire was quickly extinguished, but not before some suffered the effects of the thick smoke that filled the room and spilled out into the hallway.
In addition to city emergency personnel, sheriff's deputies and the Cumberland County Fire Department responded to offer assistance. One ambulance from Putnam County also responded to assist local emergency personnel.
Turner said the fire was accidental and believed to have started in a wall and was related to an air conditioning unit issue.
Two small school buses were dispatched to the facility to help move residents around, if needed, and the portion of Wayne Ave. in front of the nursing home was closed to thru traffic for over an hour.