BALTIMORE (AP) — There were multiple safety and health deficiencies at a Baltimore assisted living facility where two people perished and four others were injured Friday in a fire, state inspectors reported earlier this year.
In a Jan. 5 visit to the Kozy Kottage assisted living facility, inspectors found that the owner had recently turned part of the living room into a bedroom without notifying the department, as is required. The home is licensed to have eight beds, records show. Inspectors also found that the staff didn't regularly review the emergency and disaster plans.
The staff didn't store medications safely, failed to accommodate special diets for some residents, and kept daily call sheets that didn't accurately reflect the number of residents living at the home. The home also didn't use an alarm system to alert staff members of anyone coming and going throughout the day.
Firefighters called to the home about 2 a.m. on Friday found heavy smoke and fire showing from the first floor, Baltimore fire department spokeswoman Blair Adams said.
Firefighters pulled seven people from the home and one person refused treatment, Adams said. Six were taken to hospitals in critical condition and officials later learned that two had died, she said. It took 40 firefighters more than an hour to bring the fire under control. The cause is under investigation.
Tracee Barnes, who is listed as the owner of the property and the licensee of Kozy Kottage, did not return messages seeking comment Friday.
Shaunte Monroe told WBAL-TV that she was just arriving home when she saw the blaze and called the police. Monroe said she and her fiance tried to help get people out of the burning home.
"He carried an elderly lady from the doorway into the grass, and then there was another lady who was screaming for my help," Monroe told the TV station.
State inspectors also visited the property last year, and wrote in a January report that they found "no documented evidence to support" that the manager of the home had current training in fire safety, basic first aid and basic CPR.
The report also says the home did not conduct fire and disaster drills on all shifts, as required by the state. In 2013, the state also found insufficient evidence that multiple staffers were adequately trained on fire safety, use of fire extinguishers and first aid.
Fire officials did not release the age and gender of the deceased. The Office of the State Medical Examiner will determine their causes of death.