Local News

Dozens lose home, belongings in assisted-living facility fire

Posted May 16, 2009 11:32 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2009 10:49 p.m. EDT

— A cigarette likely sparked a fire that caved in the roof, gutted rooms and displaced nearly 60 residents at an assisted-living facility in Elm City late Saturday.

Flames were shooting out of the roof of Applewood Assisted Living, at 416 N. Park St., when firefighters arrived shortly before 11 p.m., said Chief Lin Jones, of the Elm City Fire Department.

All the residents were safely evacuated from the building. Several firefighters were taken to the hospital but were evaluated and released.

Jones said that the fire started in a resident's room.

"We're suspecting maybe someone was smoking in the bed," he said.

Denise Foxx said her 76-year-old father was in a room next to the one where the fire started. He escaped with his life but lost almost everything else, his daughter said.

"He had on a pair of pants and a shirt. That's all he's got left," Foxx said. "He didn't have on shoes. His socks were smutty from the fire."

Foxx said her father was on oxygen assistance Sunday at Nash General Hospital.

Part of the building was a total loss. Residents have been placed in assisted living facilities and nursing homes across the county.

"It could have been a lot worse," Jones said. "It's a blessing. I thank God that everyone got out."