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Praise for prompt response to major fire at Inverness home (19/10/10)
Members of the local community in Smithton worked last night (Monday) with care home staff, social work and the emergency services to relocate 59 elderly people from Culloden Court Nursing Home after fire broke out in the home.
Residents were evacuated quickly into the car park of the Home, as the fire & rescue and ambulance services and the Red Cross arrived at the care home in the Smithton area of Inverness. Local people quickly gathered round, and the Smithton Primary School, across the road, was opened as an emergency reception centre. Local people arrived quickly at the scene, along with the family of some residents, as all were helped across to the school. Some were assisted to walk, some went in ambulances, and a few had to be carried across to the school hall and classrooms, where they were able to rest and recuperate.
More local people arrived with blankets, and the school kitchen was opened up, as social work staff began the task of identifying alternative accommodation for the residents. A Community Council member went to the local Tesco supermarket, and they donated pyjamas and other essentials. Boots the chemist staff also arrived to ensure that people had their necessary medication.
Care homes across the area were contacted to see if they could provide beds. One local company, Meallmore Ltd opened up newly refurbished wings in two of their establishments, and accommodated almost half of the residents. A number of the homes were assisted by Culloden Court staff going with the residents – many of the staff had been on duty all day, and they worked into the early hours of the morning. Other staff from the care home organisation, Southern Cross, arrived from Stirling, and assisted with the evacuation.
With the help of a fleet of ambulances and mini-buses, all residents were moved on from the school just after 11pm.
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Housing & Social Work Committee said: “We are all relieved and delighted that everyone is safe and sound. Social Work and the emergency services all pulled together with the care home staff, school and local people to ensure that people were looked after, and found alternative accommodation. It was a remarkable exercise.”
Bill Alexander, The Highland Council’s Director of Social Work, said: “Tribute must be paid to many people, who made sure the residents were cared for, and that they were all on their way to other care homes well before midnight. All of the agencies worked together, and residents and professionals from all over the area came together to help out. Over the next few days we will work with the residents and their families to help make sure that permanent arrangements are made for their ongoing care.”
Anyone wishing to find out about relatives affected by the fire should contact The Highland Council's Social Work Services department on 01463 798337.