U.S. Fire Administration/Technical Report Series: Shenandoah Retirement Home Fire, Roanoke County, Virginia [open pdf - 998KB]
"On December 14, 1989, at 0214 hours, a fire alarm was received by the Roanoke County Fire Dispatch Center from the Shenandoah Retirement Home Center. This is a 6-1/2-story masonry building housing 175 elderly persons. Many of the occupants require canes and walkers for mobility. The second floor of this home is licensed by the State as an adult care center for some 48 persons requiring custodial supervision. On December 14, the building was occupied by 135 residents and three staff members. The building actually houses more than this number, but several were visiting family members or were in the hospital. The first firefighting units arrived 18 minutes after notification of alarm and saw fire coming from a third floor apartment window at the front of the building. Firefighters entering into the building by way of stairwells located at each end of the structure were met by occupants leaving from the upper floors, and with smoke which was already permeating the stairwells. On the third floor they found heat and heavy black smoke from floor to ceiling. Additional fire personnel and equipment had already been alerted by fire dispatch as a result of an on-duty sheriff's deputy who witnessed the fire's progress prior to fire department arrival and radioed this information to the fire dispatch center."
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