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Questions Arise About Nursing Home's Backup Generator

Posted September 17, 2007

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— Three days after a storm damaged a Fuquay-Varina nursing home, residents still were not allowed to go back until state inspectors ensure the facility's safety.

But now, there are questions about a backup generator that did not immediately work.

A tree punctured a hole in the roof of Brighton Manor Nursing Home on Sunset Drive Friday evening. Parts of the building flooded, a small fire in an electrical panel broke out and, when the facility lost power, the backup generator did not immediately come on

Fuquay-Varina Fire Chief Tony Mauldin said that when he got to the facility Friday evening, several residents were using portable oxygen tanks that were running low.

"Being the power was out and they didn't have any power, they were on their last cylinders of O2," Mauldin said.

Brighton Manor administrator John Jarrell disagreed, saying the tanks were fine and that there were never serious concerns.

"It's a concern, and it's being looked at, right now," said Beverly Speroff with the North Carolina Division of Facility Services, which is inspecting the facility. "We are in the phases of collecting the information." Facility Services is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The state inspects nursing homes once every 12 to 15 months. On its last inspection, Brighton Manor was cited for 10 health deficiencies and seven fire-safety deficiencies – more than the state average.

Most of those citations were for minor infractions, and nursing home officials said the problems have been corrected.

Jarrell would not say when he thinks the 63 residents of the center will return, but was hoping it would be within the next few days.

"That's going to be up to the fire marshal and ... Facility Services to let us know when they can come back after they complete some inspections," he said.


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