Local News

No Hint of Problems Prior to Fire

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LAURINBURG — March 18, 1996, 2:30 p.m. ESTAccording to state regulators, if they had had to predict a rest home from among the 500 they inspect that was in danger of a deadly fire -- Scotch Meadow in Laurinburg would not have been it.

The rest home, owned by the Beardan Corporation, whose principal owner is Ron Danella, is operated by the Danella family. It has a reputation with the state for staying on top of any complaints.

Lynda McDaniel, deputy secretary of Human Resources, said it is too early to comment on the fire's cause or any other possible outcomes. She said something might be learned from it, or it quite possibly could be decided that the blaze could not have been predicted or prevented. Her comments came during an interview with TV5's Stuart Watson at her Raleigh office.

Investigators are poring over the remains of the blaze, which killed eight male patients Sunday night. At this point, the initial probe suggests an electrical problem caused the blaze.

State and local inspectors visited Scotch Meadow regularly, and noted no major problems. The most recent fire inspection in January cited no defective wiring or fixtures.

State records note that Scotland County social workers visited the home regularly.

On the whole, rest homes deal with less stringent regulations than those that must be followed by nursing homes, which offer a more intense level of care. The state requires one employee on duty for every 20 rest home patients, and one employee for every 50 patients overnight. There were three Scotch Meadow employees on hand Sunday night to evacuate just about 60 patients from the home

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