LAURINBURG, N.C. — Authorities believe a mentally challenged resident started a fire Wednesday at a Laurinburg rest home that was the scene of a fatal fire almost eight years ago.
All 41 residents were evacuated from Aberdeene Meadows on Tartan Road just after 3 a.m. and were transported to Scotland Memorial Hospital.
All but six residents were treated and released and taken to another rest home. Four patients are listed in good condition and one patient is in fair condition. One patient was treated and released Wednesday afternoon.
Scotland County officials said a female patient intentionally set a bedsheet on fire in an unoccupied room. Half of the rest home suffered interior damage; the entire building has smoke damage.
"It makes me very sad. Maybe it was an accident. I hope it it was. I hope that and this person did not set it intentionally," rest home manager Saundra Etheridge said.
A fire killed eight people at the same location on March 17, 1996, when the nursing home was called Scotch Meadows. At the time, it was the deadliest nursing home fire in North Carolina history.
"It was frightening, because we really didn't know what was happening until we got out here. They had a fire one time here before and something tragic came out of that," said Woodrow McDonald, brother of a resident.
Managers have not decided when they will reopen the facility. Authorities have not decided yet on charges.