Nursing home evacuated following small fire

Residents at Somerset Living Facility were evacuated to outside the building after a fire broke out inside Tuesday. (VAL GAUGHT/News Observer)

A local nursing home evacuated patients on Tuesday after a central heating unit caught on fire.

The Crossett Fire Department and Crossett Police Department responded to a call at approximately 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday after a fire alarm at the Somerset Senior Living Facility was pulled.

Somerset Administrator Dana Barker said that the staff had all of the residents out of the building in fewer than 10 minutes.

“I think we had the building cleared within nine minutes and 50 seconds,” Barker said.

The patients were all outside the facility at noon and Barker said she was waiting on clearance from first responders. Barker said the back part of the building may no longer be habitable, but the fire had been put out.

Additionally, the staff was  taking extra precautions to protect residents from the coronavirus. Barker said that their typical protocol  in fire drills did not entail wiping and disinfecting the entire building first.

“Because of the virus we will go in and wipe down everything from doorknobs to counters, anything a first responder might have touched while they were in there,” Barker said.

The facility had already been operating daily with extra precaution in light of the coronavirus and Barker said they would continue that extra precaution when moving residents back into the building. As first responders worked the scene, police even diverted drivers to other routes to ensure no one who was infected might get too close to the facility.

Residents were able to return to the building at approximately 1 p.m.

No other details were available.

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