Resident Smoking Near Oxygen Tanks Caused NC Nursing Home Blaze

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 5:02 pm
By: News On 6

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ A resident who was smoking near oxygen tanks on a side porch triggered three explosions and a fire at an adult care home that killed one person and injured 20 others, investigators said Wednesday.

Local, state and federal investigators released their findings after analyzing the source of Monday's fire.

Two residents of David Place Residential Care remained in critical condition Wednesday at a hospital in Winston-Salem, authorities said. One of the injured was upgraded to serious condition and another to good condition.

Two more residents were being treated for minor injuries in Davie County, said Beth Dirks, the county's assistant manager.

``Any loss of life, or anytime that people are injured, is not a good situation,'' Dirks said. ``But it's a good thing knowing that it wasn't an arson situation and there was no malice.''

Residents who did not need medical attention were taken to Hilltop Assisted Living in nearby Davidson County. Nine others who briefly sought medical attention were still waiting at the hospital for a new living facility, Dirks said.

A preliminary autopsy concluded that George Minor, 58, died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters found him in a separate wing of the building from where the fire occurred, Dirks said.

The blaze started in an older branch of the home that did not have sprinklers, though the home had passed its most recent fire and safety inspection.

The structure was constructed before building codes required sprinklers and therefore did not violate current codes, said William Whaley, director of facilities management in Davie County.