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Assisted-living residents safe after fire

Mon., April 24, 2006

An early morning fire put 15 elderly and disabled people out of their Post Falls group home Sunday.

No one was badly injured in the fire at Garden Homes assisted-living facility, 820 N. William St., and the residents have been given temporary shelter in other facilities, said Ruby Stoker, owner of Garden Homes.

“We’ve found places for all of them to go,” she said Sunday afternoon. “We’re just now in the process of making sure all of their possessions are going to the right place.” The residents all need some form of help in their daily lives, she said.

The fire started shortly before 6 a.m. in the back of the house, said Post Falls police Officer Frank Bowne. Firefighters, police officers and the home’s caregivers managed to evacuate all residents.

“A good portion of the place was burned, primarily at the rear,” Bowne said. “Everybody was accounted for and healthy.”

Attempts to reach officials with Kootenai Fire and Rescue, who responded and put out the fire, were unsuccessful Sunday.

One resident was taken to Kootenai Medical Center with breathing problems but is expected to be released today.

Stoker said neighbors sheltered the home’s residents after the evacuation, and that fire and police officials, along with her employees, worked quickly to make sure everyone was taken care of.

“Everybody really pulled together and helped out,” she said.

Stoker, who has owned the home for more than four years, said it was insured and she plans to rebuild. Some of the rooms were essentially undamaged, she said, with about 10 percent to 15 percent of the house destroyed.


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