Galax, area crews work to evacuate nursing home facility after fire call

Crews say smoke was coming from the second floor

GALAX, Va. – Crews in Galax worked to get residents to safety during a fire overnight on Saturday.

At 12:17 a.m., firefighters responded to the Waddell Nursing and Rehab facility on Painter Street, according to the Galax Fire Department.

When crews got to the scene, they said they found staff evacuating patients from the second floor, where smoke was visible.

Firefighters then helped to get residents to safety, authorities said. We’re told that the Galax Public Library across the street from the facility was opened to shelter some residents during the incident. Other residents were placed into a rehab room on site, and the first floor was sheltered.

Crews said that Tower 11 made its way onto the roof, where firefighters opened up HVAC units to find a badly burned motor and wiring, which sent smoke into the facility.

Once the area was deemed to be safe, crews said they helped staff move everyone back to their rooms. One resident was taken to a nearby health facility to have minor injuries from the evacuation treated, the fire department said.

The Chief said it wasn’t just first responders that put forth their best efforts during this incident. He said it took around 70 first responders and 11 different agencies to help get everyone to safety.

“Nursing home staff executed their emergency plan flawlessly. Dispatched managed the chaos with the utmost professionalism,” the Chief said in a Facebook post. “And once done, firefighters, deputies, PD, and EMS simply ministered to the cold and scared residents as they escorted them back to their rooms. I have never been more proud and humbled to be a part of this first responder community!”

About the Authors:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.