A fire in a microwave last night forced residents of Mountain Lake Seniors Community to evacuate. Nobody was hurt.
Nelson Fire and Rescue said the call came in shortly after 6 p.m. reporting smoke in the second floor corridor of the assisted living wing. Staff and police officers were already evacuating residents when two firefighters arrived with an engine.
Firefighters found heavy smoke in the suite where the fire started and called for a ladder truck. They entered and discovered a fire in a microwave, which had spread to the cabinet housing it. It was quickly put out.
The investigation found the fire started as the result of an overheated therapeutic beanbag.
“There was a lot of smoke involved because the fire involved plastics,” chief Simon Grympa says. “The fumes were very toxic and acidic.”
Once the fire was extinguished firefighters began ventilating the building. Thanks to the smoke alarm, the resident of the suite where the fire started got out safely.
Eight firefighters eventually responded with four pieces of equipment. Damage was confined to the unit where the fire began and is estimated at $1,000 to $3,000.
Residents, who were evacuated to the community hall within the complex, were able to return to their rooms after about an hour and a half.
“The residents were calm, cool, and collected and the staff was very good in conducting the evacuation,” Grypma said. “It was very systematic and controlled.”
Grypma said it’s a good example for homeowners and apartment tenants of the importance of smoke alarms.
“Anybody in that environment who was asleep without a working smoke alarm certainly could have succumbed to their injuries and potentially died.”
Ian West, vice-president of operations for Mountain Lake, told the Star the evacuation went according to plan.
“Fire is something we’re very much aware of, and with this vulnerable population we have to make sure they know what to do and our staff also,” he said.
West said they hold monthly fire drills, but he believed it was the first time they have actually evacuated the facility. He added that because the incident happened just after supper, plenty of people were around.
“We appreciate the help of the staff and co-operation of residents and family members there at the time. Luckily it was a happy ending.”