One Dead in Fire at Lakeland Retirement Facility
Lakeland, FL -- One person was killed and two were injured in an independent living facility over the weekend.
"The flames were coming out and they were shooting up to the fourth floor. I thought it was strange that there were no fire trucks," said Carole Pepin, a neighbor. She was the first to spot the fire and call 9-1-1.
Firefighters arrived four minutes after the call. When they arrived, they found heavy smoke and fire shooting from the fourth floor of a five story building.
"This is really a worst case scenario. This is a five story building that is independent living, so we had people who may or may not ambulate well," said Battalion Chief Michael Williams.
The only way to evacuate patients was from the inside.
"Basically, we had the Lakeland Police Department and Lakeland Fire Department kind of teaming up. Our firefighters were handing patients to the police officers in the stairwell and they were carrying them down, so for fifteen or twenty minutes, it was really a very busy, hectic scene," said Chief Williams.
The facility did not have fire sprinklers. Firefighters found one resident dead and two residents injured.
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