FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Fayetteville fire investigators say an electrical problem is to blame for an early morning fire at a rest home. Officials say it is not the first time a fire was reported at the facility.
Fire started shooting through the roof of the Kozy Kottage Rest Home in the Massey Hill area just after midnight.
"Upon our arrival, fire was coming through the roof of the structure. The staff member had evacuated all 11 residents safely," said Battalion Cmdr. Calvin Bishop of the Fayetteville Fire Department.
At one point, fire officials say the flames reached 15 feet above the roof line.
"There was an electrical short behind the wall of one of the patient's rooms and that was the cause of the fire and the subsequent damage from that," Chief Benny Nichols said.
Nichols said a patient reported seeing a lamp spark earlier in the day.
"The caretakers at the facility unplugged it, and subsequently, there was some marking that came out of the light socket," he said.
Temporary homes have been found for the 11 residents, ages 60 to 70.
"Social workers are working with them now to determine whether they want to stay at the new facilities they are at or go somewhere else," said William Duke, of the state Department of Social Services.
A firefighter was treated for overexertion due to the heat. Officials said the building is not considered a total loss.
"Damage is pretty extensive to the roof area and a back portion of the structure," Bishop said. "It's definitely unlivable for a while. They're going to have to go in and get some work done before they can use it."
A fire was reported at the facility on May 11 when a small table caught fire after someone left a smoking item unattended.
State and county regulators say the facility did not have any recent fines or penalties. In fact, it just passed a fire department inspection.
"We recently did an inspection of the facility and there were some minor problems as there are with any building we inspect, but nothing major," Nichols said.
According to its first license to operate, the building opened in 1956.