Havelock North retirement village Summerset in the Vines has relocated 15 of its care centre residents while repairs are made to mainly water-damaged facilities after a fire emergency early on Saturday afternoon.
The move included a competitor in Havelock North stepping-in to help and Summerset Hawke's Bay regional operations manager Stuart James was praising the input of Heritage Lifecare regional manager and former Summerset staff member Cathy Moriarty for enabling five of the displaced residents to be relocated to Heritage's Waiapu House, also in Havelock North.
The alarm was raised at 12.07pm when smoke was detected in the ceiling of the care centre at Summerset's Te Mata Rd complex. The alarm was soon stepped-up with six fire crews from Havelock North, Hastings and Napier and other support units involved, although the fire was contained by the sprinkler system in place throughout the building.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand officer estimated about 10 rooms would have been affected by water damage, and there was some damage in the roof.
James confirmed all of the residents were "safe and well" but there was some damage.
"The cause of the fire is being looked into but it appears to have started in the roof space of a bathroom," he said. "Our sprinkler system quickly did its job and contained the fire but did cause some water damage, so we've found alternative accommodation for 15 of our residents while the damage is assessed and decisions made on repairs."
The residents of the care centre were all evacuated during the emergency, which lasted more than two hours as firefighters worked to ensure the fire was extinguished and as caregivers, many of who had started at 7am and were still on the job 12 hours later worked on reassuring and accommodating the residents.
James said Moriarty had "sprung into action to help when she heard what had happened."
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"This is a great example of our industry banding together to take care of our most vulnerable residents, and we're very grateful to Cathy," he said.
Of the other residents who had to be moved, five had been relocated to sunrooms and vacant rooms in the Summerset facilities, two had gone to family, and three had gone to Summerset in the Bay facilities in Greenmeadows, Napier.
He said Summerset "really" appreciated the "huge efforts" of the caregivers on-site working the extended hours, adding: "Our aim is always to bring the best of life to our residents, and these staff are truly living that ethos."
Summerset would be contacting all residents and their families as more information becomes available "about the next steps," James said.