Fire forces residents to move to doomed Spalding care home

Major evacuation operation: The Old Vicarage care home at Gedney Dawsmere
Major evacuation operation: The Old Vicarage care home at Gedney Dawsmere
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DEMENTIA sufferers had to be evacuated from a remote care home on Tuesday evening after a fire.

Five fire engines, three ambulances and the air ambulance were called to deal with the emergency at the Old Vicarage in Gedney Dawsmere, with crews having to rescue five of the home’s 11 residents from the building.

Two people, one an 81-year-old woman, had to be taken to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital after reportedly suffering from smoke inhalation. One was able to walk into the ambulance the other had to be taken on a stretcher.

The remaining nine were looked after by staff at Halmer Grange in Spalding – which is due to be axed by Lincolnshire County Council by the end of September.

Staff at the Spalding care home were called in especially to help look after the Gedney Dawsmere residents and will look after them until the Old Vicarage is ready to be re-opened.

One member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: “All the staff dropped everything at 10pm last night. These people are severe dementia sufferers but we had them all safely in bed by about 1.30am.

“We are concerned that they are shutting us down and in the future we wouldn’t have been available to help. I was told the police made five different phone calls before they got to us.

“We feel they have overlooked us but when they need us in the middle of the night we were there.

“It was quite a dramatic night. I was told that had the fire been at night the smoke may not have noticed for a while and there may have been a loss of life.”

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is still investigating the cause of the fire but it is believed to have started at a light unit in the lounge. Smoke damage was caused to the whole ground floor of the Church Street home.

The fire engines had to be called in from Long Sutton, Holbeach, Spalding and Norfolk. One person was given first aid at the scene.

East Midlands Ambulance Service says it deployed three ambulances and the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance to the scene as well as two managers in separate cars.

The Health and Safety Executive have been informed about the incident.

Halmer Grange, in Grange Drive, will close by the end of September despite big opposition in the town.

Lincolnshire County Council took the final decision in July after a long public consultation period and insists that people will have a better choice of care after it shuts, with services on offer at other care homes.

The home currently employs 40 people.

The closure decision sparked a campaign from Spalding resident Rodney Sadd, who drew up a 500-name petition against the move.