PEI

Dozens of residents taken from burning P.E.I. community care home 

There were only 'minor scrapes and bruises' as fire forced the evacuation of nearly 50 residents from a community care home in Wellington, P.E.I., late Monday night. 

Residents and staff 'safely evacuated despite an incredible amount of smoke,’ said fire department

Fire forced the evacuation of nearly 50 residents from La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous community care facility in Wellington, P.E.I., on Monday night. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

Fire forced the evacuation of 47 residents from a community care home in Wellington, P.E.I., late Monday night. 

As of midday Tuesday, the residents of La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous were at the Mill River Resort in western Prince County, being cared for by Chez-Nous staff. Representatives of the Canadian Red Cross were also there to help with logistics.

Firefighters were called to the home at around 9:40 p.m. Monday after heavy smoke was reported in the building.

Desmond Arsenault, a spokesperson for the fire department, said neighbours and community members were coming to the facility to help firefighters get the residents out safely.

Chez-Nous was surrounded by police tape by midday Tuesday as the investigation continued. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"We are very pleased to announce that all the residents and staff were safely evacuated despite an incredible amount of smoke while we were doing so," Arsenault told the CBC's Julien Lecacheur late Monday night. 

"They all managed to make it here, at the legion in Wellington, and now the plan is to transport all these residents to a hotel."

No serious injuries

Staff and Red Cross volunteers have travelled to the Mill River resort to take care of the needs of Chez-Nous residents displaced by the fire. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)

The elderly residents had been escorted into police cars and ambulances until school buses arrived to take them to the nearby Royal Canadian Legion. 

Arsenault said there were no serious injuries, but a few residents did sustain minor scrapes and bruises. 

Desmond Arsenault, a spokesperson for the Wellington fire department, said neighbours and community members were coming to the facility to help firefighters get the residents out safely. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

"All the families have been contacted so they are all here checking with their loved ones," said Arsenault. "They are quite relieved to see that they are OK."

Firefighters from Tyne Valley, Miscouche and New London were on the scene to assist the Wellington fire department. 

A long line of school buses awaits seniors being transported to a nearby hotel after fire forced them out of their community care home late Monday. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

"The province is thankful that for the fire services that worked together and community members that assisted with the evacuation of the Chez Nous residents," a spokesman said in an email to CBC News Tuesday. 

"While the Emergency Measures Organization was ready to assist if called upon, they were not involved in this incident in an official capacity. One of the public safety officers was on site as a volunteer firefighter to assist as part of one of the local fire services." 

A news release from Prince District RCMP on Tuesday morning said provincial Emergency Measures Organization staff are now involved in "arranging accommodations."

Firefighters moved elderly residents of the home to the local legion during the fire. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

Arsenault said it will be "some time" before residents will be allowed back into Chez-Nous. The building sustained heavy smoke damage.

Firefighters were on the scene throughout the night searching for hot spots. 

"There was some fire in the walls," Arsenault said.  

The fire remains under investigation and officials from the P.E.I. Fire Marshal's Office will be back on the scene Wednesday.

"No further information will be available until the investigation is completed," the provincial spokesman said. 

More from CBC P.E.I. 

About the Author

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked as a reporter, editor, photographer and video journalist in print, digital and TV for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Wayne.Thibodeau@CBC.ca

With files by Julien Lecacheur 

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