Daughter with mom in nursing home where fire broke out concerned for her safety

MONROE — An early-morning structure fire Sunday sent two Hawthorn Glen Nursing Home residents to a local hospital with unknown injuries and upset a daughter of one of the residents.

The Monroe Fire Department was dispatched before 5 a.m. Sunday to the nursing home at 5414 Hankins Road in reference to a fire alarm activation, according to Fire Chief John Centers. When one of the fire units arrived, it found moderate smoke coming from the south wing of the nursing home.

A 911 call indicated black smoke in one of the rooms, according to officials. The alarm was upgraded to a “high hazard structure fire.”

Crews brought extra ladders, engines and EMS units. Fire departments from Liberty Twp., Middletown and Fairfield Twp. provided mutual aid.

In the 911 call the police department received from A1 Sprinkler & Systems Integration, the person said he was reporting a commercial fire alarm at Hawthorn Glen.

When firefighters arrived, Hawthorn Glen staff had already begun evacuating residents, according to the fire department. Extra EMS crews were requested due to a high number of residents in need of medical evaluation, the release said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A Middletown woman whose mother has lived at Hawthorn Glen for four years said she was upset no one from the facility alerted her about the fire.

It wasn’t until Pam Drake read the Journal-News on Monday morning that she realized her mother, Michelle Wallace, 80, and other residents could have been injured in the fire.

Drake said she called the nursing center several times and was told the administrative staff was in meetings and unavailable to address her concerns.

Drake said her mother, due to her mental difficulties, doesn’t own a cell phone. Drake just wanted to talk to her mother, she said.

Drake was recently released from the hospital so she was unable to drive from her Middletown home to the nursing home, she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Drake said the facility routinely sent out automated voice message updates about policies and procedures. She wanted the same procedure followed after the fire, she said.

Repeated messages left for officials at Hawthorn were not returned to the Journal-News on Monday.

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