- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

HARTFORD, Conn., Feb. 26 (UPI) — Officials said 10 people died and 23 others were injured in a nursing home fire early Wednesday in Hartford, Conn.

The cause of the fire at the Greenwood Health Center was under investigation but was suspicious, said Fire Chief Charles Teale.

He said one person, a resident, was detained.

At a news conference, Mayor Eddie Perez confirmed the death toll stood at 10 and said 10 of the injured were hospitalized in critical condition.

More than 100 others, mostly bedridden or in wheelchairs, had to be evacuated, Teale said. He said there were some 148 people in the 150-bed facility at the time.

The 3-alarm fire broke out shortly after 2:30 a.m. in a room in the southwest corner of the nursing home and spread down a corridor. An aide tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but had to back off because it was inadequate to deal with the blaze.

Relatives of patients began arriving within hours and were escorted to nearby buses to keep warm.

It was not immediately clear on what charges one person was detained, but officials said the case was being handled as a criminal investigation.

Firefighters were hampered in removing victims by the bitter cold, said Teale, who described it as an extremely difficult operation.

Most of the injured were taken to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford and another to Bridgeport. Two staff members were also treated and released.

Officials said the injured were treated for smoke inhalation, burns and heart problems.

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