"As reported on the news, a fire struck the Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center of Rhode Island last night," said certified elder law Attorney RJ Connelly III. "For those who are unaware, below is the story from the website of WPRI, Channel 12 News."
Ambulances from across the state lined up outside the Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center of Rhode Island Thursday night. Coventry Fire Chief Frank Brown confirms that a fire broke out on the third floor of the facility, which is located off of Tiogue Avenue, around 9 p.m.
Ambulances from departments all across the state, including Providence, East Greenwich, Central Falls, and South Kingstown, responded to help Coventry transport at least 24 patients to area hospitals with smoke inhalation, according to Brown. “People were transported to the hospital tonight, most of them are all minor. One that was in the fire room took a little bit more smoke and honestly she was treated for hyperthermia because all of the sprinkler water,” said Chief Frank Brown. “The sprinkler system saved lives tonight.”
The entire facility, which Brown said houses approximately 150 people, was evacuated. The fire was contained to one room, according to Brown, but many patients will need to be moved elsewhere because of water damage.
“The biggest thing that we were concerned about, there are people on ventilators here. Thank goodness they are not in the area of where the fire was,” Brown said.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Katie Norman, Vice President of the Rhode Island Health Care Association (RICAH) stated this morning that Genesis, the parent company of Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center of Rhode Island, "sent resources to support Respiratory Rehab on the ground and the staff were able to move any ventilated residents to ensure that none of them required evacuation and were able to work with the fire department to clear rooms and their own staff to clean them so that they could keep as many residents within the facility as they could (so no external evacuation from the facility occurred, aside from the residents who went to hospitals)."
"There is nothing more frightening than a fire in a structure with multiple occupants, but when a fire strikes a medical facility that houses individuals with critical life support needs, results could have been disastrous," said Attorney Connelly. "Everyone at Connelly Law expresses our sincere gratitude for the heroic work done by the administration, staff, and first responders to deal with this event and evacuate those patients affected without any loss of life or serious injuries."