Maryland health officials yesterday cited a Calvert County nursing home for negligence and moved to revoke its license after an early morning fire killed one elderly resident and injured six others, including one strapped to a bed.
Harold Gordon, chief of the state agency that regulates nursing homes, said hospital beds blocked exits in some ground floor bedrooms of the Huntingtown Haven Nursing Home, where the fire occurred yesterday.
He and State Fire Marshal James Robertson said patients at the small nursing home, which houses seven persons ranging in age from 70 to 92 were supposed to be limited to the ground floor of the two-story home but fire officials found two residents on the top floor.
In addition, the officials said screen doors from the exits swung inside the room instead of outside as authorized.
Gordon said he could not say that these alleged violations necessarily contributed to yesterday's injuries but they "could have seriously hampered safety measures to evacuated the home."
On the top floor of the home, one male resident was found by firemen strpped to his bed, a constraint that hindered his quick and safe exit from the home, noted Gordon. "This restraint on the resident leads us to suspect that there may have been patients at the home needing ga higher level of fcare than the operators were licensed to give," Gordon commented.
Mrs. James Crooms, co-owner of the home at Huntingtown southeast of Washington with her husband, refused comment about the violations that health officials have charged. "We haven't had time to find out about any violations," she commented.
Fire officials last inspected the home April 5, 1977. Robertson said none of the violations now cited were noticed.
Such fire preventive measures as the smoke detection system that alerted fire units in the Calvert County area, did help rescue efforts, noted Robertson.
The alarm brought seven fire trucks and five ambulances to the home at about 6 a.m.
Two of the elderly patients were brought out of the home by an off-duty fireman monitoring the fire dispatches in the Huntingtown area near the home.
The fire, which started in a patient's room on the east side of fthe ground floor, spread through the first floor of the mansonry and wood frame house, causing the most extensive fire damage in the room where it started.
Firemen from Huntingtown, Calvert County Fire Company, North Beach and Prince Frederick had the fire under control within 10 minutes. The remainder of the ground floor suffered smoke damage, and there was no damage to the second floor.
All seven of the elderly residents were taken to the Calvert County Memorial Hospital where Nellie M. Wiley, 74, was pronounced dead on arrival. Another woman resident was transfered to Washington Hospital Center with second and third degree burns over 50 per cent of her body.
The other five suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation, according to hospital spokesman John Frank. They were listed in fair condition.
Fire officials suspect the cause of fire was electrical, said Robertson, who added that an investigation is under way.