Staff praised for response to fire in long-term care home

PORT DOVER - No injuries were reported following a fire at a seniors home in Port Dover Wednesday.

The alarm was called in at 7:58 a.m. [July 29] from the Dover Cliffs Long-Term Care Centre on St. George Street.

Residents and staff on the first floor were evacuated to the front yard. The second floor was in the process of being evacuated when firefighters declared the situation under control. Everyone was allowed back inside after the building was ventilated.

The apparent cause of the fire was an overheated dryer in the first-floor laundry room. Norfolk fire prevention officer Scott Pipe said a collection of mop heads were being dried when the alarm went up.

“We're not sure why it happened,” Pipe said. “It looks like one of them got hot and started to smoke.”

Pipe said staff at Dover Cliffs put their training to good use. One person attacked the fire with a fire extinguisher while another pulled the fire alarm. A third employee dialled 911.

“Staff did a good job,” Pipe said. “They did exactly what their emergency procedure said.”

Dover Cliffs is home to 70 residents. The dryer at issue is an industrial-grade model designed for repeated daily use. The unit was inspected Wednesday to determine whether it will have to be replaced.

Pauline Robinson, executive director of Dover Cliffs, had high praise for the way staff reacted. Everyone knew what to do and executed the game plan to perfection, she said.

“I couldn't be more proud,” she said. “They handled it calmly and professionally and did everything that needed to be done.”

As an added level of protection, Dover Cliffs is fitted with a sprinkler system.

Firefighters from Simcoe also responded to the scene. Traffic on St. George Street was re-routed between Nelson Street West and McNab Street West for the duration of the emergency.

While firefighters inspected and ventilated the facility, residents and staff in the front yard appeared to be in good spirits. There were no apparent signs of medical distress or paramedic activity.

Reprinted from the Simcoe Reformer, July 29, 2015, by Monte Sonnenberg
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