One Dead, Two Injured in DeKalb Nursing Home Fire

Posted: 3/26/2013

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One person was was killed in a fire early Tuesday at a nursing home in DeKalb County.

The two-alarm blaze broke out around 3 a.m. at the Meadowbrook Nursing Home in the 4600 block of Lawrenceville Highway near Tucker.

DeKalb fire Chief Edward O'Brien told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the fire was contained to one room on the second floor of the two-story building and was actually doused by the facility's sprinkler system.

One person in that room died, and a second person was transported to a local trauma unit, O'Brien said. A third person was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation.

O'Brien said the nursing home houses 128 residents. He said 75 of those residents were evacuated from the second floor to the first floor.

"We were fortunate that the first floor was safe so that we could move them in this cold weather and keep them inside," he said.

"The plan is they are going to keep everyone here," O'Brien said. "The facility is safe and we haven't had to cut any utilities."

The chief said several investigators were on the scene attempting to determine what started the fire, but that it could be several hours before the cause is known.

The names of the person killed and those injured were not immediately available.

After hearing about the fire on an early morning newscast, Robert Ballard rushed to the scene from Norcross to check on his 56-year-old handicapped brother.

Reggie Ballard has been a resident at the home for about six months, Robert Ballard said, adding that his first thought after hearing about the fire was, "let me get over to my brother to find out how he is."

"You automatically talk to the Lord," Robert Ballard said. "I did."

Robert Ballard said that while he hadn't yet seen his brother, he had been told that Reggie is okay.

"So far, so good," he said.

Leslie Usher said he was on his way to work when he heard radio reports about the fire at the facility where his mother lives.

"I had to bust a u-turn to get here," Usher said. He said his 66-year-old mother, who is paralyzed, was okay.

"She was glad to see me and told me she was alright," he said. "She was glad I came up."

Usher said he was concerned that he didn't get a phone call from the home's management about the fire.

"I know it was chaos, but there still should be one person designated to call family members," he said.

ajc.com

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