Missing resident found safe, firefighter remains missing in deadly Spring Valley fire
A resident at an assisted living facility in Spring Valley who was feared missing in a deadly fire has been found safe, but a firefighter remains missing.
Fire officials say flames broke out around 1 a.m. at the Evergreen Home for Adults at 65 Lafayette St.
Firefighters arrived to find the building fully engulfed in flames. They began going door to door to rescue the more than 130 residents.
At least 10 had to be taken to the hospital and some are listed in serious condition. At least one person has died.
All the other residents were taken to three nearby nursing homes.
Firefighters had to be moved back from the building because of numerous roof and wall collapses. The missing firefighter sent out a mayday call from the third floor of the complex. When his fellow volunteers rushed in to help him, they had to retreat because the walls and roof started to collapse and all of their lives were at risk.
"Guys went inside and attempted to find the firefighter. But to no avail. They couldn't locate the firefighter. Conditions worsened and they had to pull themselves out of the building for safety's sake...It's gut-wrenching. Any loss of life is devastating. When it’s one of your own, it makes it even more devastating,” says Chris Kear, Rockland County director of Fire and Emergency Services.
Heavy equipment has been brought in to remove rubble in the hope of finding the missing firefighter. "It will kind of pick large pieces of debris, steel, beams, there's refrigeration units in there…we got to pull it back and peeling it layer by layer in hopes we recover," says Kear.
Two injured firefighters were taken to the hospital. One has already been released, and the other is expected to remain for observation.
All 26 Rockland County volunteer fire departments responded to the fire.
Anyone trying to connect with loved ones from inside the nursing home is encouraged to call the Village of Spring Valley at 845-352-110
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that state agencies have been directed to assist in the response. He issued a statement that says in part, "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. The State will continue providing whatever support is needed to ensure that happens."