Resident dead, firefighter missing in massive blaze that destroyed Rockland County senior home: officials

Northern Suburbs

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — One resident was killed and a firefighter went missing in a massive blaze that destroyed a Rockland County assisted living facility early Tuesday morning.

Police got the call just before 1 a.m. for smoke in the building at the Evergreen Court Home for Adults, located at 65 Lafayette St. in the village of Spring Valley, Rockland County Fire coordinator Chris Kear said at a press briefing.

Firefighters arrived on the scene to heavy smoke and reports of numerous people trapped inside the senior living facility that 112 people called home, Kear said. At least 100 residents were inside the building at the time of the fire, officials said.

Police helped rescue people before fire crews arrived and joined the effort. At least 30 residents were rescued, according to officials.

Authorities said one resident died after being taken to the hospital. Another 20 residents were also treated at the hospital and several were listed in serious condition. Eleven residents were still hospitalized Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed several state agencies, including Emergency Services, to assist local officials in the aftermath of the fire.

The state Department of Health deployed staff to help transfer the residents to new facilities and notify families.

“On behalf of the family of New York, my heart breaks for those who lost loved ones in the fire, and we pray that anyone else involved is safe,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The state will continue providing whatever support is needed to ensure that happens.”

Video from overnight showed a portion of the structure collapsing amid the raging inferno.

Dozens of firefighters from across the region responded to the scene.

Two firefighters were among those injured and were hospitalized, including one with serious carbon monoxide poisoning, officials said.

Additionally, one firefighter from the Spring Valley Fire Department remained unaccounted for Tuesday afternoon, according to officials.

The unidentified firefighter went missing after calling “mayday,” or calling for help, while rescuing residents on the building’s third floor, officials said.

The “mayday” call was answered but fellow firefighters could not locate him because the fire was so intense.

He has not been pronounced dead and crews were still digging through the rubble looking for him Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s always hope,” Kear said earlier Tuesday.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Denise Kerr, the director of the Evergreen Court Home for Adults, said the facility is cooperating with state and local authorities in their investigation of the fire and vowed to conduct an internal review as well.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy at Evergreen Court Home and our hearts and prayers go out to all individuals and families who have been impacted. We join the community in mourning the loss of our resident who passed away and pray for the safety of the missing firefighter,” Kerr said in a statement. “Our staff was truly heroic in evacuating residents who were inside the building as the fire spread, and we are forever grateful to the first responders whose actions undoubtedly saved lives.”

Watch officials full press conference from Tuesday morning:

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