Editor’s Note: Four residents remained unaccounted for as of Monday afternoon and are presumed to have died in the fire, NBC reported.
A five-alarm fire that broke out Thursday night has severely damaged a senior living community, displacing residents and leaving at least 20 injured, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) report.
A total of 132 residents were onsite when the fire broke out, according to NPR.
The incident is another hit for the senior living industry, as communities continue to rebuild and assess their emergency preparedness protocols in the wake of the recent California wildfires, and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Situated roughly 35 miles west of Philadelphia in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Barclay Friends Senior Living Community offers assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care and post-acute rehabilitation services.
The community is an affiliate of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based Kendal Corporation, a non-profit provider of senior living communities.
The fire was reported around 11 p.m. local time, and it took firefighters more than 2.5 hours to control the blaze, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
A video uploaded online Friday morning, however, showed the top floors of the community’s buildings in disrepair and still smoldering from the blaze:
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A ‘devastating’ loss
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but local officials believe it may have started in the building’s memory care unit, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Kendal President and CEO Sean Kelly praised first responders’ efforts in battling the fire and evacuating residents, along with Barclay Friends staff and volunteers.
“The physical loss is devastating and the emotional toll, even more so,” Kelly said in a statement on Kendal’s website. “In time, we’ll know more about what happened, what’s to be done going forward, and how we can all hold Barclay Friends and its people up through this devastation, and into the future.”
As the community rebuilds in the months ahead, its top priority will be delivering care for residents and their families, Kelly explained.
“As the day and weekend goes on, residents from Barclay Friends—now dispersed over many different communities in and around Chester County—will rest, begin to heal, and commence with the longer range planning to support more permanent transitions as they may be needed,” he added.
At the immediate moment, the company remains focused on tending to the needs of Barclay Friends residents, their families and staff, Larry Elveru, director of communications and public relations at Kendal, told Senior Housing News in and e-mail.
Written by Carlo Calma