Metro-East News

Mass evacuation at Cahokia nursing center after fire; minor injuries reported

Cahokia Police chief and Memorial Hospital representative speak about fire at Cahokia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Residents of the Cahokia Rehabilitation and Care Center were evacuated late Tuesday afternoon when a fire sent smoke through the building. Many residents were on the lawn as firefighters handled the fire.
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Residents of the Cahokia Rehabilitation and Care Center were evacuated late Tuesday afternoon when a fire sent smoke through the building. Many residents were on the lawn as firefighters handled the fire.

A structure fire at Cahokia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center resulted in a mass evacuation and few minor injuries late Tuesday afternoon.

Cahokia Fire Department Fire Chief Stephen Robbins said firefighters were dispatched at 4:22 p.m. in reference to a working fire. Crews found heavy smoke inside the facility.

“Our first crews went into the building and assisted in the rescue operations. We pulled numerous patients out of the building, several from the hallway where the fire originated from and numerous employees and patients from other whims of the hallway,” Robbins said, noting that the fire was contained to at least one room. “At this time, the fire is under control.”

At least 104 people were inside the building at the time of the incident, according to officials on scene.

As of 5 p.m. no smoke or flames were showing, but all residents of Cahokia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 2 Annable Circle in Cahokia were evacuated. Early reports indicated that some patients were treated for smoke inhalation.

EMS Coordinator Michael Gilbert said the Southwestern Illinois EMS System activated its disaster plan shortly after Cahokia firefighters arrived on scene. Gilbert said “two or three” residents were transported for minor injuries sustained during the incident.

“We’ve had no life-threatening injuries at this time,” Gilbert told media.

Gilbert said the heat was a concern for elderly patients and first responders. He said officials were working Tuesday to place residents in other facilities temporarily.

Cahokia Police Department, Dupo Police Department, MedStar EMS, Abbott EMS, Prairie DuPont Fire Department, Camp Jackson Fire Department and Columbia Fire Department also responded to the scene, as did the Monroe County EMS Mass Casualty Response Team and St. Clair Special Emergency Services.

Jackie Carpenter, of Cahokia, said she rushed to the nursing facility when she heard reports of a fire. Carpenter said her 82-year-old dad, Joe, has been staying at the nursing center for about five years. He was uninjured sitting outside the nursing center along with many other residents.

“I’m just all shaken up,” Carpenter said. “I jumped out of my car and ran over here.”

Cahokia Police Department said family members of nursing center residents may call 618-332-0617 to check with the nursing staff on the condition of their loved ones.

Kaitlyn Schwers: 618-239-2526, @kaitlynschwers

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