Staff working at a Brisbane aged care home are being credited with saving the lives of 28 residents after a fire gutted the Bayside Lodge aged care home in the coastal suburb of Lota over the weekend.
Quick-thinking staff snapped into action when alarm bells sounded at 7.15 pm on Saturday evening as fire began to engulf large sections of the facility’s roof.
Thankfully, all 28 residents were evacuated from the home safely, but many were experiencing shock as they watched the fire destroy their home.
David Beutel from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services was full of praise for the staff’s quick thinking and actions.
With the physical well-being of staff and residents secure, the focus now moves to providing emotional support to residents who have lost their home.
In an interview with The Courier-Mail, the nursing home’s proprietor, Jane Tomada, revealed the extent of the emotional distress being experienced by residents.
“It’s too early to say whether we will be back,” Ms Tomada said. “It’s horrific. I can’t really describe it.
“We are trying to keep people together with everything they know. Some of them have been here for a long time. It’s like a family.”
The organisation has secured short-term accommodation for the residents but was unsure of what the future would hold for the nursing home as fire authorities report that up to 75% of the facility was “severely damaged” by the fire.
Some displaced residents are currently staying with family members while others have been staying in local aged care facilities.
Following Saturday night’s fire, Ms Tomada made an appeal for help to local members of the public.
“Anything anybody has to offer, the basics, toiletries, pillows, bedding, quilts, if we could open up a short-term place too,” she said.
Since asking for assistance, staff and residents have been inundated with useful items and offers of assistance by the public and other aged care homes and services.
One such service called Thread Together arrived at a drop-off location near the home yesterday with an assortment of brand new clothes which will be given to the residents.
Thread Together volunteer coordinator, Kate Littmann-Kelly, said she was thinking of all the residents and hoped the brand new clothing will be able to assist them so they can get back onto their feet.
“When I heard the news over the weekend, my heart just went out to all residents, staff and their families as it’s a terrifying situation to be involved in,” Ms Littmann-Kelly said.
“We are so pleased to hear that all residents made it out safely.
“Thread Together, Anglicare Southern Queensland and the Anglican Parish at Indooroopilly, [QLD], are working together to assist all residents who have lost their possessions and we will be providing brand-new clothes to help get them back onto their feet.”
The cause of the fire is not yet known.