|February 8, 2002
EMERALD PARK FINED FOLLOWING FIRE
SPRINGFIELD, IL Emerald Park Health Care Center has been fined $5,000 (Statement of Violation) by the Illinois Department of Public Health for failure to adequately supervise residents who smoke to prevent a fire. The 249-bed skilled and intermediate care facility is located at 9125 S. Pulaski in Evergreen Park.
Responding to complaints, Department surveyors learned a fire at the facility last summer was caused by the careless use of smoking materials. The Evergreen Park Fire Department was able to determine a cigarette butt tossed out the window by a resident started a bird's nest on fire and, after falling to the ground, the nest ignited lint around the laundry's dryer vent. When firefighters arrived at the scene, the exterior of the building's south wing was engulfed in fire and flames had reached the third floor.
Residents in the affected area were quickly evacuated or moved behind fire doors until after the fire was extinguished. No injuries were reported.
A review of the fire department's investigation revealed cigarettes, cigarette butts, a lighter and matches were found in the residents' room from where the cigarette butt was tossed.
The facility's policy states residents can smoke only in designated areas and cannot smoke in their rooms or bathrooms. Both persons who occupied the room where the cigarette came from had histories of smoking in their rooms and other inappropriate areas. A week prior to the fire, smoking care plans were placed in the residents' charts, but the facility failed to enforce those care plans or its smoking policy.
A Department-ordered plan of correction required the facility to adequately supervise residents to assure they are following the facility's smoking policies and to intervene when they are not.
Emerald Park did not request a hearing on the Department's action.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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