What to Know
- A massive blaze destroyed a Rockland County nursing home, killing one resident and one firefighter
- The facility said it had 112 residents living there at the time of the fire, and have accounted for all of them
- Investigators still don't have a cause for the blaze, which was intense enough to cause parts of the building to collapse
Nearly 24 hours after a firefighter went missing in a suburban New York assisted living home fire, his body has been found.
Rockland County volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd was the second casualty in the blaze that gutted the Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley early Tuesday, according to Rabbi Yisroel Kahan of the county's Human Rights Commission. Lloyd was escorted to the Medical Examiner early Wednesday morning, Kahan said.
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.
Hope for his survival had already faded as the crew was seen backing off so firefighters could continue to hose down the smoldering wreckage.
“The extent of the fire, the volume of fire, the conditions, were just too unbearable where firefighters went in it, and they just could not locate the firefighter, and they had to back out,” Rockland County Fire coordinator Chris Kear said at a news conference on Tuesday.
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 $225,000 in a matter of hours.
“This was a devastating loss,” Kear said.
One resident of the nursing home that housed 112 died after being taken to a hospital, said Kear. The person’s name was not immediately released.
All the survivors had been accounted for and will be placed in a new home, Evergreen said in a statement.
Authorities initially said they believed a resident the missing firefighter was trying to rescue was unaccounted for, as well. They said that person was later found but provided no details.
Two other firefighters were taken to hospitals. One was released, while the other was expected to stay overnight for treatment for smoke inhalation, Kear said.
Officials believe about 20 residents were taken to hospitals, some with serious injuries, Kear said.
Other residents were taken by bus to another facility, state Trooper Steven Nevel said.
It's still unclear what started the fire but the flames were so destructive that they collapsed the second floor of the nursing home. The fire department later said the building is a total loss.
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.
“Our staff was truly heroic in evacuating residents who were inside the building as the fire spread, and we are forever grateful to the first responders whose actions undoubtedly saved lives. All 112 residents at Evergreen Court Home are accounted for and have been placed in a new home. We are currently in the process of contacting their families. Anyone who wishes to reach us to inquire about a family member can call 973-378-1997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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.