NEW YORK (Reuters) -An early morning fire swept through a nursing home north of New York City on Tuesday, killing at least one resident and leaving a firefighter missing and feared dead, a fire official said.
The blaze, reported shortly before 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT), spread through about half of the Evergreen Court Home for Adults and temporarily trapped some residents, Rockland County Fire Coordinator Chris Kear said.
With smoke and flames shooting from the building, police and firefighters rescued as many as 30 residents, including 20 who were sent to a hospital where one later died, Kear said.
“We are sad to report that there is one resident that passed away at a local area hospital,” Kear told reporters at the scene shortly after daybreak. “There are several others that are in serious condition.”
Evergreen Court in Spring Valley, about 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City, houses 100 to 125 residents, and officials were still checking to see that all were accounted for, he said.
One firefighter was missing and feared buried under the smouldering rubble, Kear said.
“We are currently going to bring in a mini excavator and start pulling apart the remaining pieces of the rubble piece by piece so we can locate this firefighter and bring him home,” he said.
Two other firefighters were taken to a local hospital where one was later released and the other was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, he said.
The fire is under investigation. Kear declined to speculate on its cause.
“It’s a sad day on many fronts but the work by the local fire department, mutual aid companies and the Spring Valley Police Department saved numerous, numerous lives here,” he added.
New York State Police public information officer Steven Nevel said several agencies responded to the alarm.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Sarah Morland in Gdansk and Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams, John Stonestreet and Richard Chang