‘Two to three’ weeks before Bell Gardens reopens


It will likely be two to three weeks before residents at Trustwell Living at Bell Gardens can move back into the Hillsboro assisted living facility after a fire damaged it Wednesday morning, Trustwell Living Chief Marketing Officer Gary Fernandez said Friday afternoon.

Some of the residents are currently living with family members in the area, some were temporarily transferred to another Trustwell Living facility and a couple were temporarily placed with other skilled nursing facilities in the area, Fernandez said.

Trustwell officials were on the scene accessing the damage Thursday, Fernandez said, and while it currently appears it will be two to three weeks before residents can return to Bell Gardens, the assessment is ongoing.

The kitchen, where the majority of the damage was centered, will be inoperable for a while. Fernandez said that during that time the facility will use caterers.

The fire at 251 Harry Sauner Road was originally reported at 11:33 a.m. Wednesday as a dumpster fire that spread to Bell Gardens and caused the evacuation of all the Bell Gardens residents.

Paint Creek Joint Fire/EMS District Lt. Sarah Cayse said the fire was primarily contained to the facility’s kitchen area and the exterior of the building.

All Bell Gardens residents were displaced until repairs can be completed, Cayse said Wednesday. She added that the facility, along with the Highland County Health Department and Fayette County Emergency Management Agency, were working to find residents a place to stay whether that was with family members or another Trustwell Living facility.

The state fire marshal is investigating.

One Bell Gardens resident was transported by Paint Creek to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro sometime Wednesday after the original incident. Cayse said she was not sure why the resident was transported.

The Hillsboro City Schools provided two buses to help evacuate the residents, and neighboring Peace Lutheran Church at 231 Harry Sauner Road provided a temporary place for the residents to stay.

“The church was awesome and opened its doors for us,” Cayse said.

She also said that Hillsboro police officers and U.S. Army recruiters were helping evacuate residents before Paint Creek arrived on the scene. There were additionally more than 30 firefighters on the scene.

Harry Sauner Road was temporarily closed.

The Highland County North Joint Fire & Ambulance District, Lynchburg Area Joint Fire & Ambulance District, Southern Highland Joint Fire District, Brushcreek Township Volunteer Fire Department and Clinton-Highland Joint Fire District in New Vienna all responded to the scene.

“Dispatch received over 20 911 calls, so thanks to the community,” Cayse said.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

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