MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One person was treated for smoke inhalation after an early morning fire at a northeast Miami-Dade nursing home.
The fire broke out at the Sinai Plaza Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 201 NE 112th Street. A nurse said approximately 51 patients, many bed ridden or wheelchair bound, were evacuated safely from one of the facility’s wings.
“I’m blind so I was a little scared at first because I didn’t know where we were going but they reassured me,” said Jean Smith.
Smith said just before 5 a.m. she heard the fire alarm go off.
“They said we had to get you out of the room,” said Smith, “It’s terrible, you feel very helpless.”
“I saw smoke, I can’t walk, I ran with my walker, I ran through the patio,” said Francis Ferrara.
In addition to the person treated for minor smoke inhalation, two others were taken to the hospital for anxiety or stress.
“We had a death the other night and I was up all night and now this just got me all shook up,” said Ferrara.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews arrived within minutes of getting the call.
“Fire crews were able to make a quick entry and find the origin of the fire which was a patient room and inside the room there was a burning mattress,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Arnold Piedrahita.
Fire investigators determined the fire was intentionally set by a 78-year old psychiatric patient whb used a lighter to set his own bed on fire.
Smith and the other patients said they were shaken and thankful that everyone made it out alive. They add that if it wasn’t for the nursing staff, this could have ended very differently.
“If it wasn’t for them I think we would all get killed,” said Ferrara.
Police said the man who set the fire is undergoing a mental evaluation and may face charges.