Belfast Telegraph

Police help save OAPs in nursing home blaze

By Louise Small

Ten police officers received treatment for smoke inhalation after they were involved in a dramatic rescue operation during a fire at a nursing home.

The PSNI officers were first on the scene yesterday at Greenpark nursing home on the Keady Road in Armagh.

Police were alerted to the blaze at 2.55am and arrived within minutes to evacuate the building. The fire is believed to have started in an electricity meter box in the switch room.

As firefighters brought the blaze under control, oxygen was administered to three members of staff and two residents after they suffered smoke inhalation. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus continued the evacuation. It took three hours for the fire to be contained.

One resident was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital for treatment of a medical condition that was triggered by the stress of the incident and another member of staff was also taken to the hospital for further treatment.

Both have now since been discharged.

Ulster Unionist MLA for Newry and Armagh Danny Kennedy praised the emergency services for their response to the incident.

“Thanks to the emergency services, residents of the care home were quickly moved to safety and no-one has been seriously injured,” he said.

“Care homes house a large number of pensioners, many of whom have health problems. This could have been much more serious.”

Police said the fire is not being treated as suspicious.

Speaking last night Edward Maguire, owner of Greenpark nursing home, said: “Following the incident in Greenpark in the early hours of Friday morning the home’s emergency plan was implemented and all 27 residents from the residential unit were relocated to the nursing wing, which was unaffected by the fire.

“One resident and one member of staff were taken to Craigavon Area Hospital. They have since been discharged.

“We are currently liaising with the Health and Safety Executive to assess the damage and are hoping the residents will be able to return this evening.

“However, in the event that this is not possible we are working with the Southern Trust to consider the individuals needs, and other alternative arrangements will be made.”

And he added: “I would like to commend the staff for their prompt response in implementing the home’s emergency plans which ensured the safety of the residents.

“I would also like to thank all the emergency services including the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, the PSNI and the Fire Service for their quick response and assistance.”

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