Firefighters rescue 4 nursing home residents after ceiling collapse

Firefighters said they had difficulty reaching the residents due to the heavy ceiling blocking a door

Jeff Himler
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — Four men were taken by ambulance to Washington Hospital after a ceiling collapsed Monday evening at a nursing home in Washington County.

The collapse was reported just before 9:20 p.m. at The Grove at Washington in the 1100 block of West Wylie Avenue in Canton Township, according to a Washington County 911 supervisor.

The entire double-layered plasterboard ceiling, complete with heating cables, came crashing down in the roughly 15-foot-square room, but none of the four residents appeared to have critical injuries, according to Chuck LaBella, assistant chief of the Canton Township Volunteer Fire Department.

“It was really heavy,” LaBella said of the ceiling. “We don’t know why it came down. It could have been worse.”

There was initial difficulty getting to the residents.

“We couldn’t even get in the door because the ceiling was blocking it,” LaBella said. “Some smaller nurses squeezed through.”

Two of the residents eventually were able to walk out of the room but were taken to the hospital for evaluation, LaBella said. That included a man who was knocked from his bed to the floor.

“That was a good thing,” LaBella said. “The ceiling came down across the bed and a little stand. It didn’t come down on top of him.”

LaBella said a firefighter used his back to brace a portion of the ceiling that was positioned over a void where one of the residents was rescued.

Another resident had a portion of the ceiling lying on top of him and “was in a lot of pain,” LaBella said. The man, who was recovering from hip surgery, was moved from the room on a back board, he said.

He said experts were expected to check the single-story building but there did not appear to be any other structural damage.

“We checked the other rooms to make sure nothing was cracking, and everything seemed OK,” he said.

Additional details concerning the four residents weren’t immediately available.


©2020 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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