Five days after a devastating fire in an American retirement home, a 74-year-old man was found alive in his room. When a work team went all rooms to record the damage, they suddenly found the elderly man. Strangely enough no one had missed him after the eviction.
In the stately building in Washington DC, which was largely uninhabitable due to the fire, more than 160 elderly people lived. When the fire broke out last Wednesday, they were brought to safety by the rest home staff. After the evacuation, the fire brigade received a list with their names and the assurance that everyone had left the smoking building.
Parts of the smouldering building are about to collapse and an inspection team had to open some rooms with a crowbar, because the scorching heat had distorted the doors. “Then we found this gentleman,” says construction engineer Allyn Kilsheimer to CNN. “He came to the door because he heard us making noise.”
The seventy had miraculously still had talks. “I’m not going anywhere”, he joked when his rescuers let him know they were coming for him. The man was taken to a hospital and treated there to light, non-life-threatening, injuries. How the staff of the Arthur Capper house and the fire brigade overlooked the elderly person remains a mystery for the time being.
The fire department is now searching the building with dogs to make sure that there are no more seniors left behind. It also checks whether all people on the list have actually found a temporary accommodation. The majority are accommodated in hotels, others stay with family or friends. “We check that everyone is there now”, says a municipal official.