Fire forces evacuations at Lakewood senior living center

1 person injured, officials say
lakewood senior center fire.png
lakewood senior living fire.jpg
Posted at 5:17 AM, Feb 11, 2022

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Crews responded to a fire at a Lakewood senior living center early Friday morning.

West Metro Fire Rescue confirmed their firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire at Brookdale Meridian Lakewood in the 1800 block of South Balsam Street.

Officials said the fire was on the third floor. When firefighters first arrived, the fire was producing huge flames.

One person was injured and taken to the hospital, but firefighters said the injuries aren't considered life-threatening.

Residents were evacuated, fire officials said. Ronda Scholting, a spokesperson for West Metro Fire, said when firefighters arrived, one woman was yelling out of her window. She and her bird were safely evacuated.

Scholting said the sprinklers in the building worked, but fire was able to burn in the attic space.

By 6 a.m., West Metro said the fire was out and crews were working to put out hot spots in the attic above a third story unit. The fire burned through the roof above one unit.

"They had water on the fire within seconds," said Christy Bettis, who lives nearby. "I'm just thankful for our fire department. They were here and took care of this and saved probably the whole structure and a lot of lives."

In a statement, Taylor Ellis, a spokesperson for Brookdale Senior Living, the parent company of the facility, said there were minimal injuries to residents and staff because of the quick firefighting response.

Ellis said most of the damage was confined to the independent living portion of the facility and that the skilled nursing facility was not affected.

“Most of the damage occurred in resident apartments. We continue to work with the local fire department, and at this time, we are still waiting for the full assessment on damage,” Ellis said. “In the meantime, we are working on a plan to support the affected residents, including a potential move to another Brookdale community.”

West Metro Fire said 28 people were displaced in the fire. Some went home to family members, others will be transferred to other facilities, and the facility was looking at putting some residents in hotels.

The department said some residents would only be out of their places for a few days, but people in units that were more heavily damaged could be out for longer.