What to Know
- A massive blaze destroyed a Rockland County nursing home early Tuesday, killing one resident and one firefighter
- The facility said it had 112 residents living there at the time of the fire, and has accounted for all of them
- The fire was intense enough to cause parts of the building to collapse
Two days after a massive blaze destroyed a New York nursing home and killed two people, investigators are looking into why the facility's automated alarm system was offline at the time of the fire.
Multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of the investigation tell News 4 that the automated alarm system was not connected to the county's central dispatch when the fire broke out, meaning someone in the facility had to call 911 and report the fire manually. In fact, the system had been taken offline at 5:12 p.m. Monday, the day before the deadly blaze, sources told NBC New York.
It is not clear, however, if that caused any delay in the response to the deadly blaze.
A source with inside knowledge told the I-Team that someone inside the Evergreen Court Home for Adults was the first to call 911, with a dispatch log registering the time of the call at 12:52 a.m. The log read that "PD reports a caller telling them the alarm is going off and they smell smoke."
Sources also said that firefighters had been dispatched minutes before to another 911 call at Golden Acres, another nearby assisted living facility which lists the same address contact in Lakewood, New Jersey. A manager at that facility asked News 4 to leave when requesting comment. However, a similar automated alarm system at the Lakewood center had also been taken offline at 7:42 p.m. on Monday, according to sources. Both were set to be restored in the early morning hours of the 23rd — meanwhile, flames were shooting through the facility.
Officials would not confirm that the automated system at the Spring Valley center had been disconnected. Owners of the facility were not immediately available to comment on the status of the alarm system.
Investigators from several agencies were still combing through the rubble on Thursday, and conducting interviews with firefighters and dispatchers behind the scenes, sources said.
Rockland County volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd was one of two casualties in the blaze that gutted the Spring Valley nursing home early Tuesday. A resident, whose identity has not been released, died as well.
Officials say Lloyd was one of the first firefighters to arrive at the scene. He was on the third floor trying to put out the flames when he became disoriented and eventually trapped there. Lloyd was last heard from when he issued a mayday call, and did not make it out of the building as it collapsed.
His body was found just before midnight Wednesday after a search crew with a rescue dog were unable to locate him Tuesday afternoon.
According to his father Calvin, Lloyd was his only son. Lloyd, 35, was also the father of two boys — Darius, 5, and Logan, who turned 6 Wednesday.
“That’s what hurts me so much, that those boys are going to miss him. They loved him so much. They loved him as much as I loved him,” said Calvin Lloyd.
“Jared Lloyd gave his life in service to others. He searched as the building burned determined to rescue anyone who may have been trapped,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said at a news conference. “His loss is devastating. There is no other way to put it. But I will tell you this: his loss and his heroism will never be forgotten.”
A GoFundMe page was set up for Lloyd's children, which raised more than $300,000 in a day's time.
All the survivors had been accounted for and will be placed in a new home, Evergreen said in a statement.
According to Rockland County officials, smoke detector and sprinkler reports, which are not directly overseen by the Health Department but which were reviewed, were found in compliance by RCDOH when checked last in December 2019.
Denise Kerr, director of the Evergreen Court Home for Adults, called the fire "an unspeakable tragedy," adding that home officials are cooperating with all state and local authorities as the investigation into the blaze continues, and they have launched their own internal investigation as well.
Kerr said in a later statement the center was inspected multiple times by the Department of Health and local authorities in 2020, and no citations or violations related to fire safety were found.