Infestation forces residents from Smithfield assisted living center
Posted February 2, 2012
Smithfield, N.C. — Residents were moved from an assisted living center in Smithfield on Thursday morning after state and county officials ordered the owner to eliminate a mouse and roach infestation at the facility.
Inspections at Autumn Wind Assisted Living, at 4302 N.C. Highway 210, showed problems with mice and cockroaches since 2008, said Larry Sullivan, Johnston County's environmental health director.
Owner Ade Ganiyu has hired an exterminator as needed to handle the problem at the facility, which dates to the 1920s, but state and county officials told him Wednesday that the building needed a more extensive fumigation.
Jim Jones, a spokesman with the state Department of Health and Human Services, said a complaint last Friday prompted inspectors to visit Autumn Wind this week and take action. He declined to provide details of the complaint.
Ganiyu voluntarily agreed to move most of the Autumn Wind residents to another assisted living center he owns in Kinston. Two residents went home with their families, he said.
It was unclear how many residents live at the facility, which caters to people with mental disabilities. Ganiyu said 14 people live there, but Sullivan said there were 22 residents.
Ed Hinton said he was taking his brother-in-law, who has Down syndrome, home for a few days. He said he has never noticed anything wrong at Autumn Wind, but he wondered how documented problems were allowed to continue for so long.
Officials with the Johnston County Department of Social Services said the infestation had grown more problematic recently.
According to state Division of Health Service Regulation inspection reports, Autumn Wind has improved from a one-star rating, out of a possible four stars, to a three-star rating since 2009. It scored a 98 on a September inspection, but the results of the latest inspection last month haven't yet been posted online.
Johnston County sanitation reports show the facility had consistently perfect scores until 2008, the year Ganiyu bought it.
The last county inspection noted rodent droppings in residents' closets and behind furniture and beds. Many bed linens had stains or tears or were visibly soiled with dirt and debris, and the facility wasn't using sanitizer on linens, towels and other items with which residents had contact.
"(There are) general housekeeping issues that need to be addressed, and we really found that the facility, because of the age, needs a lot of reconstruction and refurbishing," Sullivan said.
No residents will be allowed to return to Autumn Wind until state and county inspectors were satisfied that the infestation had been cleaned up, he said.
Ganiyu said he plans to finish some renovations to the facility while residents are out.