An odor caused by a light fixture that had overheated forced the evacuation of the Glen Haven nursing home Friday morning.
More than 50 residents were in the two-story structure when the evacuation was ordered around 9:30 a.m.
Chilled residents were wrapped in blankets as they were promptly moved to the front parking lot and an adjacent courtyard area. Temperatures were above freezing when the evacuation took place.
As firefighters from Glenwood and Pacific Junction tended to the electrical situation inside the building, some of the residents were sheltered in a work activity building located southeast of the main structure of the nursing care facility. Some residents were transported to a residential garage across the street from the facility.
Glen Haven administrator Matt Ross estimated that approximately 30 to 35 staff members were on hand to assist with the evacuation and care of residents.
“We were very pleased how the staff responded,” Ross said. “We do drills, but you never know how people will react with the real thing.”
Ross said he is grateful that the incident didn’t occur over the weekend when snowfall, single-digit temperatures and high winds created dangerous conditions in southwest Iowa.
“We were fortunate,” Ross said. “Obviously, we’re dealing with a frail population.”
Ross said he was not only appreciative of the prompt response and professional reaction exhibited by Glen Haven staff, but also of the assistance received from local fire and rescue personnel, law enforcement officers and neighborhood residents.
“They (fire departments) did a great job of getting here quick and helping us figure this out.”
Ross said the hot light fixture was in a “hopper room” used primarily for the temporary storage of waste. No residents are housed in the wing of the building where the fixture was located, Ross said. The evacuation lasted approximately an hour. The faulty light fixture was replaced Friday afternoon.