No injuries in nursing home fire

FLORENCE, Wis. – No injuries were reported following a Sunday fire at the Golden Living Center in Florence, Wis., which Florence County Sheriff Jeff Rickaby said may have been caused by a lightning strike.

The Florence County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the fire at 5778 Chapin St. at 2:22 p.m. At the time of the fire, 41 residents occupied the facility.

According to Rickaby, initial investigation revealed the source of the fire as a possible lightning strike, which ignited the attic area of the building. Fire suppression systems were activated, and the flames were quickly extinguished by firefighters.

Approximately 30 percent of the building sustained interior structural damage, Rickaby said. The entire building sustained some smoke damage.

All residents and staff were evacuated and transferred to a pre-established shelter at Florence Elementary School.

The shelter remains open, with 31 residents being cared for by nursing home staff with the aid of the American Red Cross, Florence County aging services, public health, and the Department of Human Services. The other 10 residents were signed out to their families for temporary care.

Fire units from the Florence and Aurora fire departments responded to the incident. Ambulances from Florence, Aurora, Long Lake, NorthStar EMS, and Beacon Ambulance responded to aid in evacuation of residents. Residents were also transferred using buses from the Florence County School District and Florence County Aging Office.

The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department helped acquire assistance to resolve the incident, Rickaby said. Many local businesses from Florence and Iron Mountain contributed food and supplies to the shelter.

Evan Reid’s e-mail address is