Archive for Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Price tag of fire at nursing home set at $100,000

No timetable for residents’ return

July 12, 2006

According to the state fire marshal's office, a recent fire at Tonganoxie Nursing Center started in a clothes dryer.

"But we can't determine whether it was an actual malfunction or if there was a lint buildup or if there were clothes left in the dryer," Karl McNorton, chief deputy fire marshal, said Monday.

Also on Monday, Tonganoxie fire chief Dave Bennett said the costs of repairing TNC's damage from fire, smoke and water are greater than he originally estimated.

"With the water damage and extra stuff they had to do, it's probably in excess of $100,000 now," Bennett said.

Last week, he had estimated damage at $20,000 to $30,000.

Kim Smith, executive director of Tonganoxie Nursing Center, said Monday she wasn't sure when the 71 residents who were displaced by the July 1 fire will be allowed to return to the center.

Since the evening after the fire, residents have been living elsewhere. Of those, 51 were transferred to the county-owned Broadway Heights in Leavenworth, eight to a nursing home in Edwardsville, three to Lansing, three to Spring Hill and six to private homes.

"We're working on getting the building taken care of so we can get people back in," Smith said.

According to Smith, the center must pass an inspection by Kansas Department on Aging and the state fire marshal's office before patients can return.

But McNorton said the fire marshal's office is prohibited from notifying an agency beforehand when they will be doing an inspection.

So that makes it more difficult to predict when the residents will return to TNC, Bennett said.

"There's been some holdups," Bennett said. "They have not gotten the green light to move residents back in. Not all the inspections are completed. We're still shooting for the near future. I can't even say it's going to be this week."

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