More than 40 firefighters from eight Northshore fire districts responded to a smoke alarm activation at a retirement home near Covington yesterday evening, evacuating the facility without serious incident before bringing a small electrical problem under control.
At 7:17 p.m. on Tuesday, an alarm company contacted the UniFire dispatch center to report an alarm activation at The Trace at Claiborne Hill, 19432 Crawford Road, a retirement home and assisted-living facility just outside Covington. Units from Fire District 12 were on the scene in less than four minutes, discovering smoke in some hallways of the building. Because of the nature of the facility, additional units were immediately dispatched and surrounding fire districts were asked to assist.
Fire Districts 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and the City of Covington Fire Department all responded, as did Acadian Ambulance personnel and Fire District 4 ambulances. Covington Police and Sheriff’s Office deputies also responded to assist. Emergency responders safely evacuated approximately 85 residents and employees of the facility, and EMS staff conducted triage on all evacuees. There were no injuries.
Firefighters quickly identified the source of the smoke as an electrical problem in one of the building’s elevators and neutralized the danger. There were no flames, but investigators believe overheating electrical components caused the smoke. At 8:22, the scene was declared under control. Residents were returned to their homes.
A total of eight fire engine companies, four tankers, one ladder truck and 10 support vehicles responded from area agencies, with 47 total personnel.
“First and foremost, we’re glad the incident was relatively minor and that no one was injured,” said FD12 Deputy Chief Stephen Krentel. “Had there been a severe fire, this had the potential to be a mass casualty incident with an extremely tragic outcome. In addition to our sense of relief, we can add our pride in the way emergency response agencies collaborated to ensure a safe outcome. Situations like this underscore the high level of cooperation fire districts and law enforcement display when the lives of citizens are in danger. Mutual aid agreements are more than just paper or formality; when needed, emergency responders in St. Tammany Parish provide virtually seamless response, and all of us in fire service are very proud of that teamwork.”